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IN « 


By j')pEGGS, 


S^ermtH SHitioitt tebtoeH anh mlatgeH, 


*' la chiUliood, mact a femaU 1»« dependent on ber father ; in youthf on her husband ; her Ivrd 
bevm <femif on her jams; if the have no tontt on the near kinsmen of her haiband ; if he left no kins- 
men, on those of Der father ; if he have no paternal kinsmen, on the sovereig;n." Mtwu. 

*' I imagine that the caremouv (the Car Festival of JuKfCernant) would soon cease to be conducted 
on its present scale, if the institution were left entirely to its own fate* and to its own resources, by 
the officers of the British Government." Sltrlin^. 

" When we reflect on those evils that are inseparable from even the mildest state of Slavery, and roii- 
sider how larjre a portion of our most industrious subjects are at present totally deprived of a f're** 
market for their labour^ restricted by inheritance to a "mere snbsistencct and sold and transferred 
Mrith the land which they till,--<poHcy no less than humanity would apnear to dictate the propriety a{' 
gradually relieving them from those restrictions, which have reduced tnem, and must otherwise mn- 
tinne to conflna them, to. a condition scarcely superior to that of the cattle, which they follow at th«- 
plongh.'^ Mttdrat Board ef Revenue^ 1819. 







J. .Hsddon» Printer, 
Ca»tie Street, FiBsbnrj-. 



The Author » during his residence in India, having wit- 
nessed the horrid rite of burning a widow with the body of 
her deceased husband, — the miseries of pilgrimage to the 
great Temple of Juggernaut in Orissa (me celebrity of 
which is increased by British r^ulation and support), — the 
exposure of the sick and the dead on the banks of the 
€range8,-^and other cruelties of Hindoism, has, since his 
tetnm to his native country in 1826, laboured to diffuse 
information respecting these things and to urge the pro- 
priety and facility (^ their suppression. In prosecution of 
this object the Author has published two editions of a 
Pamphlet entitled " The Suttees' Cry to Britain ;"* two 
editions of '• Pilgrim Tax in India C an edition of '' Ghaut 
Murders in India ;" and a small edition of '* Infanticide in 
India/' — ^The principal part of these Pamphlets have been 
put in circulation. Through the liberal exertions of nu- 
merous friends, a considerable number have been circulated 
gratuitously in this country, and also in the different Pre- 
sidencies of India, among the various Functionaries of 
Government. To show the propriety of these exertions, 
and to encourage similar and extended efforts, the Author 
(though with much hesitation) is induced to refer to an ex- 
tract of a letter from tlje private Secretary of the present 

♦ The Coventry Society for the abolition of Human Sacrifices in India 
has published an abridgment of this Pamphlet^ entitled " A Voice from 


Governor General of India, Lord W. Bentinek, dated Dec, 
1828, acknowledging the receipt of the Suttee and Pilgrim 
Tax Pamphlets, which had been forwarded to his Lordship. 
— ** I am directed to acknowledge the receipt of your letter 
to the Governor General, dated the 7th of April last. His 
Lordship desires me, at the same time, to present his best 
thanks for the copies of your Pamphlets which accompanied 
it ; and to assure you that the one on the Suttee question 
relates to a subject which has engaged his particular atten- 
tion."* In perfect accordance with these sentiments is the 
following notice, which, says a correspondent in India, in 
March, 1829, appears daily in the Papers : — "The Governor 
General invites the communication of all suggestions tend- 
ing to promote any branch of national industry ; to improve 
the commercial intercourse by land or water; to amend the 
defects in the existing establishments ; to encourage the 
diffusion of education and useful knowledge ; and to ad- 
vance the general prosperity and happiness of the British 
empire in India.'' Surely a In^ighter day has dawned on the 

To this edition is added — ' The present State of In- 
fanticide and of Slavery in British India.' Upon these 
subjects but little correct information appears to be pos- 
sessed. A very general impression prevails that Infanticide 
is abolished; and a late celebrated writer on India has 
stated — " No slavery legally exists in the British territories 
at this moment ;'^ with what surprise will the reader hear 
that there are two volumes of Parliamentary Papers on 

* It appears tliat some steps have been taken by the Governor Ge- 
neral to abolish the Snttee. Mr. Smith, a Missionary at Benares, writes 
Feb. 13, 1829 : — "Went out by the river side and conversed with a num* 
ber of Brahmuns on religious subjects, and also brought in the order 
respecting the prohibition of Suttees. On hearing which, a Brahmun 
exclaimed, " What has Government now arisen from sleep ? So many years 
has this cruel practice been carried on, and haa compassion at last 
entered into their breasts ? They ought to have prevented this horrid 
practice many years ago." " It astonished me,''^ says Mr. S., " to hear 
such expressions from a Hindoo.'' An interesting statement is also 
given by him, of this prohibitoiy order being read by UieDaroga at Gopee 
gu7^, before more than 200 Brahmiins and pundits : after which, the 
whole listened to his preaching the gospel, and some individuals seemed 
to be much affected by it. " The English," say thev, " now wish to 
enlighten us." (World Paper, Jan. 20, 1830.) letters from Calcutta and 
Seraro pore,* in July, do not mention this subject; and hence it is probable 
that the measure is of a limited nature. The fact, as an experiment, i» 
peculiarly encouraging. 


Inianticide, and that a very voluminous collection of Papers, 
of nearly 1,000 folio pages/ on SlaTery in India, were 
''' ordered to be printed by tke Hon. House of Commons, 
Mar. 12, 1828.'* — From these valuable documents full and 
accurate information may be procured. 

For the Parliamentary Papers on the Burning of Hindoo 
Widows, which now contain six volumes, and the Papers 
relative to Infanticide, the Temple of Juggernaut and 
Slavery in India, the Author is under the highest obligation 
to T. F- Buxton, Esq., M.P., and to W. Smith, Esq., M. P. 
If this volume contain information of a nature calculated 
to promote the welfare of British India, it is chiefly to be 
attributed to the important materials supplied by these 
valuable Papers. The Author's labour, in a considerable 
part of the work, has been little more than selection and 
arrangement; and, without such important materials, he 
should never have presumed to publish upon the different 
topics discussed in these pages. The necessity of circulat- 
ing information respecting the state of India, for the pur- 
pose of promoting the abolition of the cruelties of heathenism, 
afpears evident. '' Shall superstition be suffered to issue 
her decrees, from year to year, and from age to age, against 
the lives of poor defenceless and disconsolate widows (and, 
it may be added, of female infants, pilgrims, and the sick ex- 
posed by the Ganges),*-hundreds of whom are annually 
sacrificed to its relentiess cruelty, and yet no voice be 
lifted up on then* behalf? Then where are human sym- 
pathies ? and what are nature's claims ? But no : humanity 
can refrain no longer. A cry has at length been raised for 
the daughters of sorrow on the plains of India. It has 
reached the British Isle and reverberated from her chores : 
it has sounded in the ears of her Legislature :— it is heard 
in the midst of our city : — it is a loud and bitter cry !" 

It is hoped that tiiis revised^ uniform, and enlarged edition, 
of the various piercing plaints of India to British humanity, 
will be encouraged by a humane and liberal public. The 
infatuated Suttee, — the murdered female Infant, — the 
perishing Pilgrim (allured to the shrines of Idolatry, ren- 
dered more celebrated by British connexion and support), — 
the sick exposed by the Ganges, — and the degraded Slave, 
present their cry to Britain ; and shall not that cry be heard 
and reiterated, from ** Dan to Beersheba," till the Senate 
and the Throne hear, and feel, and redress their wrongs? — 
^* The continued sanction of these enormities i&^me of those 


national detinqueneies which press like an incubus, ftiik 
intolerable weight, on the propriety and» stability of our 
country ; while it opposes an aknost insarmoantable barrier 
to the free progress of the gospel." (Mis. Reg. Aug. 1929.) 
The proceeds of the editions of those parts of the volome 
which have been published in Pamphets» have been devoted 
to gratuitous circulation and missionary exertions in India. 
The profits of this edition are to be devoted to liquidate the 
debt on the Sabbath School Rooms belonginff to the Author's 
friends in Coventry. It is a source of the highest gratification 
to him, still to labour for the welfare of the millions of 
'India; and the promotion of this great object, in connexion 
with Uiose of a more local nature in Britain, is peculiariy 
grateful to the writer's feelings. With great diffidence, 
and humble dependence on Divine Providence, this work 
is sent forth into the world. May the Father of the father* 
less and the Judge of the widow, even *' God in his holy 
habitation," incline those who hold in their hands the des* 
tinies of India to regard '' India's Cries to British Hu- 
manity ;" and thus bring upon themselves ** the blessing of 
them that were ready to perish, and cause the widow's heart 
to sing for joy." 


Charier House Leys^ 

Feb. 16, 1880. 





Origin — ^Ratare*-number— cauae of principal prevaknoe 
in Bengal — and atrocity of Suttees •-- 1 


Remarks on Hie nature of the practice of Suttee, and <m the 
causes that occasion its perpetration, or prevent its sup- 
pression, w 20 


The rite of Suttee not enjoined by die most authoritative of 
the Hindoo legriglators^ and opposed to their views of emi- 
nent virtuQ. Force forbidden by the shastras, yet fre- 
quently employed - -- - 29 


Review of a pamphlet in Bengalee on the burning <tf Hindoo 
widows, written by a PuncQt - 34 


The present partial interference of the British (Government 
tends to promote the celebrity and supposed legality of 
Suttees --• 61 


Authorities to confirm the propriety, safety, facility, and suc- 
cess of efibrts for tihe suppression of Suttees --- 62 




A coUection of European and Native testimony to the posi- 
tion that the Suttee is not absolutely enjoined by the Hin- 
doo shastras^ and hence should be suppressed — ^methods 
proposed for its abolition— objections answered — con- 
cluoing appeal - 79 



Introductory remarks — sketch of the early and extensive pre- 
valence of Infanticide^ and human sacrifices, in various 
countries -- 113 


Infanticide in India. Origin — nature-^crime— extent — pre- 
sent stttte and demoralizing influence 130 


Success of efforts, ancient and modem, for the suppression of 
human sacrifices and of Infanticide. Difficulties of the en- 
tire abolition of Infanticide in India - 167 


The necessity and propriety of adopting measures for the en- 
tire and immediate abolition of Infanticide — decisive steps 
requisite — objections answered — facilities enjoyed for its 
abolition — concluding remarks 184 



Oiinn, nature, proceeds, and qtpropriation of the Pilgrim 
Tax. — ^Traces of British connexion wiUi idolatry and 
Mahomedanisni in differentpaits of India -•- 213 



The idoktrons establishments chiefly supported by the sys- 
tem at Joggernaat, Gya, Allahabad, &c. -• 338« 

CHAP. lU. 

The miseries resolting from the system, and its general cha- 
racter 249 


The facility and advantages of the repeal of the Pilgrim Tax 
system — confirmation of the statements .-•.-.- 265 


Objections to the repeal of the Pilgrim Tax system obviated — 
concluding appeal • 285 




Ori^in^ nature^ atrocity^ and appalling scenes connected with 

le practice of exposing the sick on the banks of the 
Ganges 303 


The extent of the prevalence of this inhmnan practice 320 


Tlie necessity and propriety of adopting measures for the 
prevention of these atrocities — utility of attendinc^ to the 
sick — confirmation of the statements -^ concluding re- 
marks 330 




Introductory remarks. Origin, nature, and evils of slavery in 
India 363 



Nature vnd tucceit of effoiti for the abolition of the SlaTO 
Trade in India — ^melioration of Slavery by the Hindoos, 
Massulmans^ French, Dutch^ and British -- - 404 

CHAP. m. 
tie present state and extent of Slavery in Hindostan "^8 


Methods proposed for die mdioration and abolition of Slavery 
in India — answers to objections to its abolition arising' 
from the supposed kind treatment of slaves — ^the pre- 
servation of cnildren and adults in famine by selfing 
&emselves Sot support — the indifference of the slaves to 
emancipation— decreasing the population of an Island or 
District — Mahomedan prejudices prohibiting any others 
than slaves attending on their women, and that tney can- 
not dispense with slaves, — and the interest of the slave 
owners and the Government — concluding remarks - - - - 459 


Containing Humane Hints for the melioration of society in 
British India 49 1 

Reference to tke Em^iavmg9, 

TheSuttee 1 

Burying a Widow aliye -- .- --^. . - - 77 

Destruction and Preservation of Infants in India 113 

Juggernaut and his Brother and Sister - 213 

Par of Juggernaut ----- - . 250 

Ganges Water Carrier - 266 

Human Sacrifice to Juggernaut 257 

Temples of Bobuneswer " 259 

Exposure of the Sick •* -^ 303 

Refieving the Sick --r .---. 491 



The Suttees* Crt. — "We strongly recommend the perusal of 
Mr. Peggs' Pamphlet, which, to the feeling testimony of an ete-witness 
of the horrible practice he describes, adds a mass of information, and 
documents of the most valuable and decisive natuxe.'' — Eclec. Rev. 
Jufte^ 18^7. 

** This interesting Pamphlet ii every way deserving of serious perusal 
and extensive circutiition. — CkrU, Guardiany June, 

" To this publication we solicit the attention of such readers as desire 
to make themselves acquainted with the &rther details of this important 
question" (the Suttee).— Oricn*. Her. May^ 1829. 

" Mr. Peggs' Appeal is forcible, but dispassionate ; and we hope that, 
in behalf of the widows in India, he will not plead in vain.*' — Imp. Mag. 
Jtdyy 1827, €md May, 1828. 

"A valuable collection of papers.^'— JBvan. Mag, Aug. 1828. 

" The able Pamphlet before us contains much information, collected 
from the most authentic sources.'* — Wcm. Mag. June^ 1827. 

*< This excellent Pamphlet is evidently the result of much labour and 
research." — Bap. Mag. June. 

See also " Congregat. Mag.** Jan. 1828 — ** Missionary Reg.,*' "Asiatic 
Journal/' " Sailors," " Part. Bap. Mag.," "Gen. Bap. Repos.," 1827— 
** The World Paper," April, 1829. 

British Connexion with Idolatry in India. — " We earnestly re- 
commend the perusal of these facts and observations to the consideration 
of the Christian public.*^— Ec/ec. Ecu. March, 1828. 

^ The Pilgrim Tax levied by the Indian Government on idolaters 
going on pilgrimages, whatever was its design, has had the acknowledged 
effect of sanctioning and legalizing this destructive and wicked supersti- 
tion. The Rev. J. Peggs, late a Missionary near the Temple of Jugger- 
naut, has recently published a Pamphlet, in which he has collected 
abundant testimony to the duty» facility, and advantages of the entire 
and immediate abandonment of this pernicious system.**— JUfw. Reg. Feb. 

<* This Pamphlet relates to a subject which appears to have received a 
very inadequate share of public attention, and with the details of whicli, 
we suspect, many of the best informed and most inftuential memh^s of 
society are very imperfectly acquainted. We cordially recommend it to 
the attention of our readers.** — Bap. Miscellany, Oct. 

*' Great credit is due to the excellent Author of these two Pamphlets 
(the Suttees* Cry and Pilgrim Tax), for the pains which he has taken in 
collecting infbrmation concerning some of the most cruel and destructive 
superstitions of India, and in presenting it to the British public in a 
cheap form. We know of no publications in the English language, 
which, in so small a compass, contain so much information on these 
subjects, so interesting to every friend of humanity and religion.** — We&. 
Mag. May. 

" We believe that the Pamphlet before us is the only exposure of the 
system which has found its way through the press to the English public. 
We hope it will be widely circulated, and followed by others, in increase 
ing numbers, until the evil is at an end, and the disgrace wiped away.** 
-^Month. Rep. Dec. 1829. 

See also " Congregat. Magazine,*' Jan. and Feb. — " Bap. Magazine,** 
« Gen. Bap. Repository,** ^*The World,** April, 1828. 


Ghaut Murders in India.^" We are gonry we have lost even an 
hour in introducing this cheap, important, and stirring Pamphlet to the 
notice of our readers. We have gone through it with astonishment and 
shame; — astonishment^ that a practice, like that on which this work 
principally treats, should be allowed by the British Government; and 
shamCj that Christians, so much alive to the very name of oppression in 
England, should not have arisen as one roan to ' appeal to British hu- 
manity and justice' in the senate of our land. We implore Christians 
to make a determined effort on this subject ; and we entreat Mr. Peggs 
to allow the Christian public no rest till the great object of his desires is 
accomplished.'' — Bap. Mag, Apr. 1829. 

" If there be the least spark of benevolence yet alive in the breasts of 
Englishmen, this appeal will not be in vain. — The Worldy June. 

See « Imp. Mag.*^ April, "Gen. Bap. Rep;' Jan. 1829. 

** Infanticide. — ^The author has brought an abundance of matter 
into a small compass; by carefully selecting the best articles written on 
the subject, from the pens of those best qualified to treat of it, he has 
compiled a work which will be read with interest, by all who are not 
sntirely indifferent to the interests of their fellow-creatures. He is 
evidently impressed with the magnitude and importance of the subject, 
and we sincerely hope he will not labour unsuccessfuly, in making it as 
evident to the mmds of others.'' — Ori, Quar, Rev. Jan. 1830. 

India's Cries to British Humanity (First Edition). — "This volume 
furnishes on this subject (the safety of the abolition of Suttees), and on 
the several; subjects to which its title-page refers, the most accurate and 
ample information. Mr. Peggs has entitled himself to the thanks of the 
British public for his reiterated appeals. We beseech our readers to 
acquaint themselves with his statements, and to let no opportunity be 
neglected of advancing his benevolent aim." — The World, Jtui/, 29, 1829. 

" These publications are the fruits of Mr. P.'s observation and reading, 
and demand attention from all who desire to free their country from the 
guilt of conniving at the atrocious practices therein exposed.'* — Mis. 
Register, March. 

" A very interesting little work." — J, S. Buckinghum, Esq. 

" The public are much indebted to Mr. P., for his enlightened and 
indefatigable labours in the cause of humanity. He has fairly made out 
his premises, that all the fnurderous customs now practised by the Hindoos, 
may be abolished with safety and honour to the British Government. We 
earnestly entreat our readers to peruse these Tracts. They are altogether 
resistless in their appeals." — Evan. Mag. March, 1 829. 

" Those who, like Mr. Peggs, furnish us with a faithful representation 
of facts, on which to ground our efforts for the melioration of^the state of 
the Hindoos, deserve the thanks, not of India alone, but every friend of 
humanity in the country which governs India. For the zeal and industry 
with which this gentleman has been enabled to lay before the public so 
large a body of important facts, and for the benevolence with which he 
has long laboured to redress the miseries of the heathen population of 
India, his Christian brethren, of every denomination, must teel deeply 
indebted to him. We hope that his exertions will result in success ; 
and that his appeal, to the natural sympathies and benevolent principles 
of his countrymen, will not be unheard or disregarded." — Month. Rep. 
Dec. 1829. 

See « Asiatic Journal," March, " Imp. Mag." May, 1829. 







Origin — naiure^-numher*— cause of principal prevalence 
in Bengal — and atrocity of Suttees* 

SUTTJSE b the name ^ven in India to a woman who im- 
molates befM4f on the funeral pile of her husband, and 
denotes that the lesnale is considered tme or faithful to 
Inm, even unto death ; the term is also anplied to the rite 

Diodoras Siculus, who twice refers to the practice of 
Suttee, in the 108rd and 106th Olympiad, or B. C. 327 and 
814 years, supposes the practice to have cviginated in the 
.unfaithfulness of the women to their husbands, and tbek 
taking them oif by miadng deadly plants with their food. 
'' This wicked practice," says be, '* increasing, and many 
falling victims to it, and the punishment of the guilty not 
serving to deter others from the commission of tibe crime, 
a law was passed, tiiat wives should be burned with their 
deceased husbands, except such as were pregnant and had 
children ; and that any individual who refused to comply 
with tUs law should be compelled to remain a widow, and 
be for ever excluded from all rights and privileges, as 
guilty of impiety. This measure being adopted, it followed 
Uiat the abominable disposition to which the wives were 
addicted was converted into an opposite feeling. For, in 
order to avoid that climax of disgrace, every wife being 
obliged to die, they not only took all possible cam of their 
bosband's safety, but emulated each other in promoting 

2 India's Cries to 

his glory and renown."* Strabo is of the same opinion.^ 
MandeUo, a German, who witnessed a Suttee at Cambay, in 
1638, accounts for the rise of this singular custom in the 
same manner.^: It is possible that this practice may have 
originated in a mistaken idea of the import of the injunc- 
tion of the shastra, addressed by the priest to the bride in 
marriage : " Be thou the companion of thy husband in 
life and in death ;" — or from the following passage in the 
Rigvad : — " Let those women, no longer widows, excellent 
wives, anointed with coUyrium and ghee, enter, without 
tears, without complaints, excellent jewels, let them ascend 
before the source of beings." It is supposed that these words 
are addressed to fire, as a god, and that they justify the 
burning of widows. They appear to recommend it, but 
not with that clearness which the importance of the case 
requires. Since their meaning is doubtful, it cannot be a 
good cause which rests upon them as its chief authority, 
particularly when there are other passages which afford a 
refuge from the extreme into which they lead. 

'' The origin of the custom," says an intelligent magis- 
trate in India, ^* ^mH most probably be found in the volun- 
tary sacrifice of a widow incotisolable for tb» loss x)f her 
husband, and who resolved to accompany him on the 
funeral pile ; not with any idea that such an act could be 
acceptable to the gods, or any way beneficial to herself in 
a future existence ; but solely because her affection for the 
deceased made her regard life as a burden no longer to be 
borne. The example of this heroine, if it remained the 
only incentive to Suttee, would *have been rarely followed ; 
.but it of course excited admiration as a novelty ; and in a 
short time the Brahmuns began to perceive, that, if pro- 
perly managed. Suttee might be made a very productive 
source of emolument ;§ and the most esteemed authors of 

• Lib. xix. c. 32, 33. 

t Geogr. lib. xv. See Asiat. Journ. May, 1827. 

X Asiat. Joarn. Jan. 1823. 

§ The expense of the Suttee witnessed by the author at Cuttack, 
Aug. 19, 1824, was, according to the pundit, as follows : — '<Ghee, three 
rupees; cloth, one rupee; woman's new cloth, two rupees and a half; 
wood, three rupees ; adawlut pundit, three rupees ; the woman gave one 
rupee for some purpose ; rice, one anna ; betel nut, two pice ; flowers, 
one anna; cocoa, one anna; hemp, four annas; haldee, one anna; ma- 
teeanlet, chundun, doop, cocoa nut, one anna, one pice ; carrier, five 
annas ; musicians, half a rupee ; paring nails, four annas ; cutting wood, 
three annas; totsd, fifteen rupees, five annas^ three pice. Intended 
shradda (funeral feast), fifteen or twenty rupees.'' Thus thirty rupees 

British Humanity. 8 

the age were induced to recommmend it as a most me- 
ritorious act, productive of good effects to the soul of the 
widow and her husband, and to those of the surviving 
members of their families : they also prescribed forms and 
ceremonies^ in which the attendance of Brahmuns was of 
course indispensable. Menu, and the most ancient and 
respectable writers, do not notice Suttee ; it was therefore, 
in their time, either unknown or not approved. If the 
former, how comes it to be recommended in the more mo- 
dern shasters, if the custom was not of the nature sup- 
posed? No modem lawgiver would have ventured to praise 
an act not mentioned by his predecessors, if an example 
had not occurred, and been received with universal praise, 
though a novelty and an innovation. If known, but not 
mentioned because not approved by Menu, the authority of 
the modem shaster is not sufficient to give any nierit to 
the sacrifice. In the first case we do not find that the 
practice originated in the law, but that the law is the con- 
sequence of the practice; and that sacred authority is 
subsequently produced to enforce the merit of an act ori- 
ginating in the mortal feelings of affection, grief, despair, 
or some other passion of the mind, equally incapable of 
affording a hope that it would be acceptable in the eyes of 
the Deity."* It is a painful circumstance, that this bar- 
barous custom, which existed prior to the Christian era, 
should not, before this period, have been annihilated by the 
progress of civilization, and especially the dififusion of the 
salutary influence of Christianity in the East. 

Various detailed accounts of Suttees have been commu- 
nicated to the public through the periodical publications 
of Missionary Societies, the six volumes of Parliamentary 
Papers on Hindoo Immolations, and the Newspapers of 
the P^sidencies in India. A few instances only of the 
nature of this inhuman rite are here given. 

The *' Friend of India," for September, 1824, published 
at Serampore, contains an account of a* Suttee at Cuttack, 
in Orissa, which the author and some of his friends wit- 
nessed : 

" On Aug. 19, 1824, this place was defiled with innocent blood. 
About twelve o'clock the Judge sent a note to the Mission House, in- 

(value 2s. 6d. at par) were expended. Occasionally considerable sums 
. must be realized by the Brahmuns and their adherents. 

♦ Par. Papers on the Immolation of Hindoo Widows, 1821, vol. i. p. 


4 India's Cries t0 

fonmng us of the intended Suttee. Tbe woman was a Telinga, the wife 
of a Brahmun who died that morning about daybreal:. Her reply to tiie 
several questions proposed to her through the Telinga interpreter was, 
" What have I any more to do with the world ? I must go to my 
husband." Support for life, and a conveyance to her own home, were 
offered, but they were rejected. From my pundit I have gathered some 
particulars which cast light upon this dreadful Tite. He stated, that it 
IS customary to lament the dead with crying and noise, but she did not ; 
saying, she was going to her husband. She said, she was a stranger 
and had nothing, and therefore desired the neighbours to provide whait 
was necessary for a Suttee. She said also, that she had been a Suttee in 
three former births^ and must be %ofour times more^ and then she should 
attain endless felicity. Those who should dare to prevent her, by con- 
fining her in a house or jail, their seed should die, and they should 
descend into hell. Some approved of this, others said, that as she had 
no son nor daughter therefore she wished to die. To this she replied, she 
had a brother and sister, and in her ovra country many friends, but shfe 
wished to go to her husband. From joog to joog (age to age), in this 
manner, with the samtf iiUsband, she was to be born and die. 

"About half-past diree o'clock she proceeded to the pile. I was then 
too unwell to venture out. Mrs. P. saw her on the way and talked with 
her. About six o'clock in the evening I went to the spot, expecting die 
tragical business to be closed. I was, however, surprised to find 
nothing more done man the pile partly prepared. The Judge and three 
other gentlemen, with some of our English congregation, were present, 
and a great number of Natives. Frequent and persevering efforts were 
made by the above gentlemen to dissuade her firom her purpose, assisted 
by the members of the Mission who were present. She was sitting near 
the pile with the corpse of her husband covered with a cloth lying near 
her. I knew two Telinga Brahmuns present and, taking them^ endea- 
voured to speak to the woman. I told her I was a Padree; that God had 
sent me and others to teach the people the true Incarnation, Jesus Christ, 
who died for our sins : that if she would go with me to my house she 
would be able to learn this knowledge ; and that I would send her in a 
palkee to her own country : but if she ate fire and died now, how could 
she gain this knowledge, without which she could not be saved ? I told 
her, thus to destroy herself was not God's will, t fear my translators 
were not faithful ; but all the poor woman said was, * Nsifayun, Na- 
fayun.' This she repeated with a stupidity df mind trUly itadescribable. 
Ml*. B., Onfe of the gentlemen present, was desirous to convince her, by 
some ordeal, that she could hot burn ; but ^he infatuated woman 
played with a piece of fire like a child, though when her hand was pressed 
upon a coal she showed no resolution. He lifted up one of her eye^lids, and 
affirmed that she was intoxkated. This was stated to the Judge, and 
urged as a suffiicient reason to forbid the horrid murder; but he thought 
it wanted evidence, and hesitated to use his authority to save hfer. "Die 
pile, which was slowly preparing, was about eight feet long, four feet 
wide, and about two feet high. At each comer was a piece of wood 
which supported the roof; three sides of the pile were blocked up. 
Baw flax was laid on the wood, upon which the corpse was placed. 
Ghee was forbidden to be put on the pile by the Judge, that the woman 
might have the opportunity to escape, by feeling the effects of the fire 
gradually: a practice which, if the Suttee were always, according to 

British Humanity. 5 

ancieot custom^ to ascend the funeral pile while burning, or i^ pr^vipus 
to its being lighted, she were left unbound and unincumbered, might pre- 
vent the shedding of much innocent blood. As she had been touched by 
several persons after her first bathing, she went to the river und bathed 
again. J saw her enter the pile as a person would get into b^, and lay 
herself down h^jf the left aide of her husband and farthest f^om the en- 
trance of the pile. The wood under the corpse, after a short time, 
burned fiercely ; and it was horrible to see it consuming) the head and 
elevated stiffened hand of the deceased, while the poor woman was 
scarcely touched by the devouring element. I stopped about a quarter 
of an hour, hoping the unhappy sufferer might labour to escape ; bu^ 
alas I no signs of it appeared ; and, after viewing the burning of the dead 
and the living, till my feelings and concern for my health determined me 
to go away, I left the horrid circle and bast^ed home. All such out- 
rages upon the principles of society are unnatural and inhuman, and, 
when said to be from religioua motives,, a species of insanity ; and 
hence may properly be suppressed by the powerful voice of reason and 
authority. When shall these murders cease ? Ayhere does the salutary 
godlike power lie, or firom what, quarter will it. originate to abolish diem V* 

The following account was commanicated, from the tem- 
ple of Juggernaut in Oriasa, in July, 18S4, by the author's 
colleague, the Kev. W. Bampton: — 

** The in&tuated woman, whose death I witnessed, was the widow of 
a Brahmun who had died in the morning. The man's age seems to have 
been about forty and the woman's thirty-five. Tlie place where the 
Suttee took place was called Swurgu Dwar, which signifies the gate of 
heaven ; and when I reached it I found the coolies employed in digging 
the hole, which was circular, about six feet deep, its diameter at bottom 
perhaps a little less than its depth, and at top twice as much. Soon 
after my arrival, about twelve persons came, each bringing a load of 
wood on his or her head, for several of them were women. I charged 
the labourers with being accessary to the crime about to be committed, 
and the general reply was, that they worried for money, and did this 
work as they did other work, because they were paid for it. Carelessness 
or cheerfulness characterised all the Hindoos near or on the spot The 
pit being finished, a quantity of water was mixed with cow-dung and 
sprinkled on the margin about one-third of the way down; two ropes 
were also well wetted with the same mixture. Inquiring the use of two 
bamboos which lay near, I was told that they were to stir th^ Jure and 
ktm about the bodietl The bits of wood prepared for the occasion were 
between twelve and eighteen inches long,, and on an average five or six 
in circumference ; a quantity of them were thrown into the pit, and a 
man at the bottom proceeded to set them up on their ends two or three 
thick round the sides; upon this he placed a second tier; and on the 
second, a third ; he also covered the. bottom perhaps five or six inches 
thick, so that the pit was now two-thirds lined with wood. Soon after 
all was finished, the dead man was brought on a rough bier, which I 
appose might have been made in less than a quarter of an hour. I 
soon saw the procession (if it may be called one), nalting a few hundred 
yards before me : the crowd was kept off* the woman by a square made 
ftf four pieces of wood, five or six feet long. The rabble were preceded 
by some of their rude music. Unwilling to see her bum herself, my 

6 Indians Cries to 

"vvorthy oompanioos, Lieut. W. and T. B. Esq., tried several tiroes to 
prevent the horrid deed,- and I lent nxy feeble assistance, but all to no 
purpose. They halted twenty or thirty yards from the flaming^ pit, where 
the last effort was made, and, that failing, her infamous coadjutors gave 
her a lighted lampj which I think she put into an earthen pot under her 
arm. In a little time all was confusion; and a scene, the most per- 
fectly hellish that we ever saw, was presented ; a way was made- for the 
woman. to the pit, and its margin was left clear; she advanced to the 
edge facing her husband, and two or three times waved her right hand ; 
she then hastily walked round the pit, and in one place I thought the 
flames caught her legs ; having- completed the circle, she again waved 
her hand as before, and then jumped into the fire ♦♦♦♦»• 

At this moment I believe the drums beat, and an infernal shout rent 
the air, but I can scarcely say I know, — all was confusion. A dense 
smoke issued from the pit, intermixed at intervals with partial bursts of 
flame, occasioned by quantities of powdered resin thrown into the pit by 
handfuls. In a little time they allowed the fire to clear^ itself, and we 
then saw the wretched woman in the midst of it : I think her posture 
was that of sitting on her heels; she sometimes moved gently back- 
ward and forward, as if she bowed. The poor creature still kept an 
erect posture ; but at length seemed^ partially to rise, and pitched for- 
ward with her head against the side of the pit, about two feet from her 
husband^s left hand. The motion of her head in this position indicated 
pain, and she continued to live two or three minutes longer. The gen- 
tlemen then went home, but I staid a- little longer and saw the bodies 
taken out : for, though the women are burnt in these pits, the bodies 
are taken out while they are distinguishable, and consumed in two 
different fires (at least that is the case here), and we are told it is 
done that the son may make nire of some fragments of both his parents 
to be thrown into the Ganges, Now the ropes came into use ; one was 
doubled and the middle thrown down to catch the man^s chin, one or 
two bamboo levers were put under his head to raise it and get the rope 
round his neck ; the rope was then twisted, in order to fasten it, and 
they began to draw, but they failed, fbr the rope slipped off. Another 
man then attempted to fasten the rope ; he succeeded, and they drew 
up the body, with the exception, I think, of the legs ; but it was quite 
dark, and nothing could be seen but by the light of the fire. They then 
tried to raise the woman, but could not easily get the rope round her 
neck, so they put it on her arm, which projected in such a way as to fa- 
vour their doing so ; and, after twisting it well, they drew her nearly to 
the top of the pit: but they seemed afraid that they should lose her again 
if they trusted entirely to her arm, so she was held just below the edge of 
the pit till another man put the other rope under her chin, and she v^as 
then drawn quite up. Some of the people employed themselves in ar- 
ranging the wood for the fires to consume the bodies, and I staid perhaps 
ten minutes longer, finally leaving the bodies on the brink of the pitf. 
Such are the facts, and I leave them to produce their proper effect.'' 

The Suttee represented in the engraving is narrated by 
the Rev. J. England, of Bangalore, in the Madras Presi- 
dency, in a letter, dated June, 1826. He says — 

'* I received a note from a gentleman that a Suttee was about to take 
place near his house. On hastening to the spot, I found the prepa- 

British Humanity. 7 

nctions considerably advanced, and a large concourse of spectators 
assembled. On my left^ stood the horrid pile; it was an oblong bed of 
dry cow-dung cakes, about ten feet long, and seven wide, and three high. 
At each corner of it, a rough stake about eight feet in length was driven 
into the ground ; and at about a foot from the top of these supporters 
was fastened, by cords, a frame of the same dimensions as the bed, and 
forming a flat canopy. This frame must have been of considerable 
weight ; it was covered with very dry small faggots, which the officiating 
Brahmuns continued to throw upon it, till they rose two feet above the 
frame-work. On my right, sat the poor deluded widow, who was to be 
the victim of this heart-rending display of Hindoo purity and getUleneu ; 
she was attended by a> dozen or more Brahmuns; ner- mother, sister, and 
ton (an interesting boy about three years of age), and other relatives, were 
also with her. Her oum mfanty not twelve months old^ was erqftih kept 
from her by the Brahmuns. She had already performed a number of 
preparatory ceremonies-; one of which was washing herself in a strong 
decoction of saffron, which is supposed to have a purifying- effect. It 
imparted to her a horrid ghastliness ;— her eyes indicated a degree of 
melancholy wildness; a forced and unnatural smile now and tlien played 
on her countenance : and every thing about her person and her conduct 
indicated that narcotics had been administered in no small quantities. 
Close by me stood the fousdor, a native officer, who, besides regulating 
the police, is the chief military officer at the station. So heartily did 
he engage in this murderous work, that he gave the poor widow twenty 
pagodas (between six and seven pounds sterling), to confirm her reso- 
lution to he burned! The Rev. Mr. Campbell addressed her in the Car- 
natic language, but the effect of his address was counteracted by the 
influence of the Brahmuns. The pile being completed, a quantity of 
straw was spread on the top. An increase of actiyity wa* soon visible 
among the men whose "/eef are swift to shed blood.** Muntrams (prayers 
or incantations) having been repeated over the pile, and the woman and 
every thing being in readiness, the hurdle to which the corpse of the 
husband had been fastened was now raised by six of the officiating 
Brahmuns ; the end of a cord about two yards long, attached at the 
other end to the head of the bier, was taken by the widow, and the whole 
moved slowly towards the pile. The corpse was laid on the right side, 
and four men furnished with sharp swords, one stationed at each comer, 
now drew them from their scabbards. The trembling, ghastly offering 
to the Moloch of Hindooism, then began her seven circuits round the 
fatal pile, and finally halted opposite to her husband's corpse, at the left 
side of it, where she was evidently greatly agitated. Five or six Brah- 
muns began to talk to her with much vehemence, till, in a paroxysm of 
desperation, assisted by the Brahmuns, the hapless widow ascended the 
bed of destruction. Her mother and> her sister^ too, stood by, weeping 
and agonized; but all was in vain— the blood-thirsty men prevailed. 
The devoted woman then proceeded to disengage the rings from her 
fingers, wrists, and ears; her murderers stretching out their greedy 
hands to receive them : afterwards all her trinkets, &c., were produced, 
and distributed among the same relentless and rapacious priests. While 
in the act of Uking a ring frpm her ear, her mother and sister, unable any 
longer to sustain the extremity of their anguish, went up to the sidcof 
the pile, and entreated that the horrid purpose might be abandoned; but 
the woman fearing the encounter, and the strength of her resolution, 
without uttering a word, or even casting ^parting glance at her ^suppli- 

S India's Cries to 

eating parent and iister, threw herself down on the f»jiW» end «lMp«d the 
faalf-pvtrid oorcNie in her aims. Straw in ahnndanpe was heaped on &e 
dead and the living; gums, resins, and other inflaoimable substances 
were thrown upon the straw which covered the bodies, while muntrams 
were repeated at their heads : six or eight pieoes of kindled cow-^ung 
cake were introduced among the straw, at different parts of the pile; 
ghee and inflammaUe materials were apf^ed, and the wkde biased in 
as many places. The men with swords at each comer then hacked the 
eords which supported the canopy of faggots-— it fell and covered the 
lifeless corpse ana >6ke living woman ! A piercuig sound caught my ear ; 
I listaaed a few setonds^ and, notwidistanaing the noise of the multitude, 
heard the shiidis of misery which isaned from the burning pile. In an 
agony of feeling, we directed the attention of the Bmhmuns to this; and, 
iMe so Mngf again— etiU louder and more piercing than before — ^th« 
burning woman rent the air with her shrieks ! Several of the Brahmuns 
called out to ibe ialfieomumedf ttill cmieiem and implmng widow^ to> 
coMioav HEE. The pile was now enveloped in flames, and so intense 
was the heat, that, as by one consent^. Ihe Brahfltiuns and spectators 
retreated several paces: they then sang a Sanscrit hymn; the hymn 
ended, but not the shrieks and groans ef the agonised iMifferer ; <^, still 
(Merced our ears^ and almost rent our hearts I Scarcely conscious of 
what I did, in the midst of these yain repetitions,, I left, this scene of 
fiendish barbarity r 

The number of widows yAo aQouaHy periish, the victims 
of this appalling superstition^, has in former years been 
yariously stated, and it q)pears (though doubtless unde- 
signedly) exaggerated. The following informadon may be 
relied on, being extracted from the official reports of the 
Magistrates in India, and printed in England by order of 
the House of Commons, from 1821 to 1828. It is pro- 
bable, that Suttees are oceasionally perpetrated, without 
being officially announced to the police ; and no correct 
idea can be formed of the number that occur in the ter- 
ritories of tributary, allied, and independent Chiefs, whose 
subjects are not under the laws and regulations of the 
Britisdi Government, but who are doubtless encouraged in. 
the sanction of this cruel custom, by British apathy and 

The following facts ^how that several widows are some^ 
times burned with the body of their hiMband:— 

'^'Goopeenaut, a Brahmun employed in the Serampore printing office 
in 1799, saw twenty-two females burnt alive with the remains of Ununtu, 
a Brahmun of Bagnapore, near Naddeya. This Kooleen Brahmun had 
more than a hundred wives. At the first kindling of the fire only three 
of these wives had arrival. The fire was kept kindled three' days ! On 
the first day thret were burnt, on the second and third days mnttMia 
more. Some of these women were as much as forty years old, and 
others as young as sixteen. The first three had lived with the Brahmun, 
the others had seldom seen him. He married in one house four sisters » 
two of these wcie burnt."— Bkc/i. ApoLfor Christ, in India, pp. 14—16. 

BriiuA Humanity. 9 

** When Row Lflcka, grandfather of l!he present chief of Catch, died, 
^een concuhinet bvmed at his funeral pile, but Qot one of his wives 
performed the sacrifice." — HamiltofCs B.%ndo%teny vol. i. p. 638. 

" It is consolatory to state," says Sir John Malcolm, " that those 
shocking scenes which ttiU occur on the death of the princes ofJaypore^ 
Jwiipmre^ and Oudiporey to iwell wko$e Juneraihonoun numbers of unr 

willing females are forcibly thrown t^pon thepiUf have long been i 
in Ma&oa/** 

Though the Qtimber of Sattees in India is not ik» great 
as to preclude the possibility of the abolition of the prae- 
tiee, yet it is so considerable as to call aloud for Britain to 
stretch forth her hand, and save those who are " drawn 
unto death and ready to be slain/' 

Number of Suttees in the different Diitrict$ of the Bengal Presidency ^ 
from 181^ to 1824. 

Calcntto DivisioA 





















Cuttack Ditto..*. 











Dacca Ditto 











Moonhedsbad ... 











Patna Ditto... ...i 











Bare% Ditto.... 











Benares Ditto. .. 
Total . . 





















Total in the Presidency of Bengal in ten years 599r 

In eight years in the Madras Presidency . , 287 

In nine years in the Bombsy Presidency 248 

There being no returns for Tanjore, from 1814 to 1819 in-"j 
slusive (17 being returned for 1820), lowest possible > 40 

estimate for six years J 

In the Par. Papers, May, 182r, no regular returns are given '^ 
for Madras. In the Southern Concan (Bombay) in 1824, > 60 
27 ; in 1825, 32. Northern Concan in 1825, 1 Suttee . 3 

Total in ten years, for the three Presidencies . 6632 
Bengal Presidency, 1825, 639; 182<5,51^ 1157 


As it may be interesting to see at one view the ea;tQnt of 
the practice under the Bengal Presidency,^ wh^re it chiefly 
prevails^'.tiie followmg abstract is given from the Parlia- 
mentary Papers, May, 1827, p*124:— 

, 11 . - 1 — 1 • • <■ < < .ij " ■ ' ' 

* Report on Malwa, Feb. 1821. Par. Papers, voj. v. p. 44. 

f Par. Papers, 6 vols. Poynder*s Speech, p. 4. The Parliamentary 
Papers, July 18, 1828, contain po regular returns. 

f The average number of Suttees under the Madras Presidency, from 
1820 to 1823 inclusive, was 50; and under that of Bombay, from 1819^ 
to 1823, 49. How easily might these few poor widows havebeen saved I. 


Indians Cries io' 


Cfthe Number of Hindoo Widows burnt or buried alive in the ZiUah and 
City Courti of the Bengal Preadency, in the year 1824. 




















Monghyr • . 

^^8 / 


City Patna 


Jungle Mehals 







Suburbs of Calcutta 
Twenty-four Per- i 

gunnahs > 





















Peelebheet ., 





U L 











Joint Ditto 





City Dacca 

Dacca Jeialpore . . . 





Muzuffer Nugger . . 

Deyrah Door 




V^ M. R^^M\,AnU. 








rRftflrhhonm . 


r Allahabad 









Bnndlecund, S.Diy. 
Bundlecund, N. Div. 

City Benares 






City Moorshedabad 



Rungpore Com-] 
^ missioner ! 



Grand Total. . 






Briiish Humamiy. U 

T&e cause of ihe principal prevalenee of this inhuman 
eustom in Bengal, and especially in the vicinity of Ced- 
ent ta, is th£i stated by U. OaJkley, £sq.^ Magistrate of 
Hooghly, December, I0I8 : — " The Suttee is supposed by 
some to be an act eujoined by the religon of the Hindoos ; 
but, if SO9 why does it prevail in one part more than another? 
and why in the immediate neighbourhood of the Presidency! 
The worship of the Hindoo deities is tolerably equal, wher- 
ever the religion extends, and the pilgrimages by which they 
are to be propitiated are the same throughout India ; and, if 
Suttee were really an act enjoined by religion, it would be 
universally meritorious, and equally observed wherever that 
religion is followed ; but, as it is not, we must account for 
its prevalence among the Hindoos in the neighbourhood of 
Calcutta, not by their peculiar strictness in the observance 
of religious and moral duties^ but by some peculiar cir- 
cumstances ejecting their moral character. It is notori- 
ous that the natives of Calcutta and its vicinity exceed all 
others in profligacy and immorality of conduct. The idol 
of the drunkard and the thief (Kalee) is scarcely to be met 
with in the distant provinces, and none but the most aban- 
doned will confess that he is a follower of Kalee. In 
Calcutta we find few that are not. Her worship must 
harden the hearts of her followers, to whom scenes of 
blood and crime must become familiar. By such men a 
Suttee is not regarded as a religious act, but a choice en- 
tertainment ; and we may conclude, that the vicious pro- 
pensities of the Hindoos in the vicinity of Calcutta are a 
cause of the comparative prevalence of the custom. But 
I am utterly unable to assign a cause for this local depra* 
vity, and for the prevalence of a worship despised and ab- 
horred by every Hindoo of respectable character."* 

Ram Mohun Roy, in a Tract entitled " Brief Remarks 
regarding modern encroachments on the ancient rights of 
Females, according to the Hindoo law of inheritance,*^ 
supposes the prevalence of Suttee in Bengal to arise from 
the existence of polygamy, and the dependent and unhappy 
circuidstances in which widows are left. He says — ** All the 
ancient lawgivers unanimously award to a mother an equal 
share with her son in the property left by her deceased 
husband, in order that she may spend her remaining days 
independently of her children." But modern expounders, 

* Par. Papers, vol. v. p. 237. 

13 India's Cries tQ 

** vhote- opinioos 9xe oonsidered by the natiTes of Bengal 
as standard authority in the division of property among 
heir8»" hsve thus explained away this ancient, law : — ** X 
widow can receive nothing when her husband has no issue 
by her ; and in case he dies leaving only one son by his . 
wife, or having had more sons, one of whom has happened 
to die leaving issue, she shall in these cases h^ve no claim 
to the property :. again,, should any one leave more than 
one surviving son» and they, being ujQwilling to allow a 
share to the widow, keep the property undivided, the 
motheir can plaim nothing in this instance ; but when a per- 
son dies leaving, two or more sons, and all of them survive, 
and are inclined to allot a share to their mother, heir right is 
in thb case only valid. Under these expositions, and with 
such limitation, both steprmoibiers (i^nd mothers have, in 
reality, been left destitute in the division of their husbands' 
property ; and the right of a wi^ow exists in theory only 
among the learned, but unknown to the populace. 

** It is not froffi religious prejudices and early impressions 
only that Hindoo widows bum tbeinselves on the piles ot 
their deceased husbands ; but also from their witnessing 
the distress in which widows of the same rank in life are 
involved^ and the insults and slights to which they are 
daily subfected, that they become in a great measure re- 
gardless of existence after the death of their husb ^ds ; sMid 
this indiJOTerence, accompanied with hope of future reward 
liel4 out to them, leads them to the horrible act of suicide. 
It cannot pass unnoticed, by those who are £^;quainted with 
the state of society in India, that the number of female 
suicides in the single province of Bengal, when' compared 
with those of any other British provinces, is almost ten to 
one;* we may s^ely attribute this disproportion, chiefly 
to the greater freqmncy of a plurality of mves among 
the natives cf Bengal^ and to their total neglect in 
providing for the maintmance (^females" — Referring to 
a practice of disinheriting the daughters, throwing the 
expense of their marriage upon their brothers, and the 
sordid principle from which many are given in marriage, 
lie adds-^" The humane and liberal among Hindoos 
trust that the humane attention of Government ,^^U be di- 
rected to those evils which are chief sources of vice and iqI- 
aery, and even of suicide among women ; and to this they ^e 

* This appears too great a proportion.— Autii. 

British Humanity. 18 

encomaged to look forward^ by what luw already been done 
in moduyingi in criminal cases, som^ parts of the law 
enacted by Mabomedan legislators, to the happy preven* 
' Hon of manjf cruel practices formerly established'** 

It IS bnmiliating to the national character of Britain to 
reflect that the horrid rite of Sattee '* occurs not in a 
remote corner of Hindostan, where the eye of authority 
penetrates with difficulty; but principally in Bengal and in 
that portion which is tlie seat of Supreme Government — 
where Christianity is prefessed— and where lawshecomiug 
the character of a civil community and cf an enliahtened 
nation are presumed to he administered. More than half 
of the total amount of Suttees in the Presidency occur in 
the Calcutta division^ The dirnity of GroTemment is 
insulted by a spectacle so avowedly in opposition to all the 
provisions of civil law and justioe; while the honour of 
religion is compromised by the want of a more visible 
impression ob the surrounding idolatry and superstition/'f 

The subject of this cruel ctistom can rarely be c&nsiekred 
voluntcnry. This is very forcibly stated by W. Ewer, Esq., 
Sup. of Police, Lower Provinces Bengal Presidency: — 
'' It is generally supposed that a Suttee takes place with 
the free wiD and consent of the Widow, and that she fre- 
quently persists in her intention to bum, in spite of the 
arguments and intreaties of her relations. But there are 
many reasons for thinking that such an event as a voluntary 
Suttee very rarely occurs: few widows would think of 
sacrificing themselves unless overpowered by force or per- 
suasion ; very little of either being sufficient to overcome 
the physical or mental powers of the majority of Hindoo 

• Miss. Regis. 1823, p. 187—190. Oriental Herak), vol. x. p. 251— 
1!56. ^ Dr. M.,'' observes the late Bishop Hebelr, «' said that; these hor- 
rors (Suttees) are of tnore frequent occ^lrrence within these last few 
years than when he first knew Bengal, an increase which he imputes to 
the increasing luxury of the higher and tniddUng claise$f And to their 
expensive imitiiticn of Ettropean habits, which makes many iamilies 
n^y, and aiixious to get rid, by any means, of the tiecessity of su{)- 
porting their mothers or the widows of their relatimis. AnoUier frequent 
cause is, he thinks, the jealousy of old men, who, baring thairried young; 
wive^, still cling to their exclusive possession even in death, and leaVe 
injunctions, either with their wires themselves to nndce the ofiering, or 
with their heirs to urge them to it. He is strongly of opinion that the 
practice might be forbidden in Bengal, where it is of most frequent 
occurrence, Without exciting any serious inconveniences.''-*- Joilm. vol. i. 
p. 37. — AuTH. 

f Grimshawe's " Appeal on behalf of Hindoo Widows." — Hatcfaard, 
p. 3. * 

94 India's Cries to 

females. Aiddow, who would turn with natural instinctive 
horror from the first hint of sharing her husband's pile, will 
be at length gradually brought to pronounce a reluctant 
consent; because^ distraeted with grief at the events 
without one friend to advise or protect her, she is little 
prepared to oppose the surrounding crowd of hungry 
Brahmuns and interested relations, either by argument 
or force. Accustomed to look on the former with the 
highest veneration, and to attach implicit belief to all their 
assertions, she dares not, if she were able to make herself 
heard, deny the certainty of the various advantages which 
are supposed to attend the sacrifice : — ^that by becoming a 
Suttee she will remain so many years in heaven, rescue 
her husband from hell, and purify the family of her father, 
mother, and husband ; while, on the other hand, that dis- 
grace in this life, and continual transmigration into the 
body of a female animal, will be the certain consequence of 
refusal. In this state of confusion, a few hours quickly 
pass, and the widow is burnt before she has had time even 
to think on the subject. Should utter indifiference for her 
husband, and superior sense, enable her to preserve her 
judgment, and to resist the arguments of those about her, 
it will avail her little, — the people will not be disappointed 
of their show ; and the entire population of a village will 
turn out to assist in dragging her to the bank of the river, 
and in keeping her down on the pile. Under these circum- 
stances nine out of ten widows are burnt to death.* 

A letter from a lady who has resided in India, dated 
Salisbury, Dec. 1827, contains the following afflicting 
account : — 

''At a Ghaut near Serampore I witnessed the burning of a respect- 
able woman about thirty years of age, whom I found with^ve children, 
the eldest a fine boy about thirteen. As soon as she saw me, she 
asked if 1 were come to deliver her. I told her I had no power to 
deliver her, but was come to persuade her not to bum. She shook 
her head and said, ' I will hum ! How can 1 go back? However, the 
servant is gone to the English Magistrate,^ at his return mi/ fate will he 
decided,* Two hours elapsed before he returned, the greater part of which 
I spent in conversation with her. She often turned to her children, and 
witn affection pressed her hand upon the iace of her youngest child, who 

* Par. Papers, vol. i. p. 227. See vol. v. p. 17. . 
t " During my residence at Serampore many widows applied for per- 
misnon to ^arn, but were not permitted. Those who did bum were 
obliged to get permission of an English Magistrate^ and go out of the 
bounds of Serampore.^' 

British Humanity. 15 

could jiittt lisp ma, ma. At length the servant returaed with peifmission 
for her to burn. As soon as she saw him, her countenance changed, her 
eyes sunk into her head, the furrows deepened in her face, and when she 
heard her late, resolution failed, and natttrt took ponemon of her breast. 
When the eldest son saw that his mother was so timid, he said, he would 
not set fire to, her head. But her brother-in-law said, * Now the mtut 
bum ;for the ooro Sahab (the great Gentleman) has sent her permiuion to 
bum / He then began to anoint her, and put a little oil into her hand 
to pour over ber t&ildren as her blessing. The eldest son refused the 
oil, and persisted* that he could not set fire to her. But neither the tears 
nor the screams of the boy, nor the agonizing fear of the mother, pre- 
vented her being bound to the dead hodaf of her husbandy and pressed daum 
with two bamboos. If I had had any authority merely to have said, *• you 
ore not to bum,' all this would have been prevented. I am sure both the 
people and the Brahmuns would have dispersed without a murmuring 
woitl. Many call it a bad custom^ and are q%dU tired ofit.^* 

The description of a Suttee, the motives which generally 
lead to it, and the objects for which the victim is sacrificed, 
abundantly prove that the Sattee is miscalled suicide^ 
or voluntary self-immolation. This idea receives confir- 
mation from the fact, that in the annual list of Suttees, in 
the years 1815 to 1820 indusive, it appears sixty-two 
widows were burnt, most of whom were mere children in 

Years I 17 I 16i I 16 I 15 I 14 I 13 I 12 I 10 I 8 

Number | 14 | 1 | 22 | 6 | 2 | 2 | 10 | 1 | 3 

k. Bengalee Newspaper, named Kowmoody, published 
in Calcutta, under date August, 1825, contains the follow- 
ing account : — 

** Ramchundea Mitto, an inhabitant of Boydbooty, who generally 
iiTed at Calcutta, being attacked with the Cholera Morbus, was taken 
home by his relations, and on the night of the 29th he died, aged twenty- 
five years. His young and beautiful widow, only about fourte.en or 
fifteen years of age, thinking herself altogether worthless in the world on 
me death of her husband, and anticipating the many distresses she would 
have to suffer if she survived him, absolutely burnt herself on the funeral 

The same paper, in October, 1825, contains a similar re- 
lation : — 

^ We are astonished to hear that Muddon Mohun Chuckrobutty, 
about fifteen years of age, inhabitant of the twenty-four Purgunnahs 
(Calcutta), having lately died, his widow, a little girl about twelve years 
'<foe^' no longer wnimg to inhabit this transitory world, obstinately 
burnt herself on the funeral pile/' 

Of juvenile and aged Suttees, the Asiatic Journal for 
September, 1827, jusdy remarks :— " It is lamentable to 

* Par. Papers, vol. ii. p. 45 ; vol. v. p. 17. 

16 India's Cries to 

find, that of the tweaCy-four young creatures under twenty 
years of age, who underwent this cruel rite in 1824, one 
was aged thirteen, another eleven, and another only nine. 
In all these cases, the Suttees were decidedly illegal ; the 
last especially. The widow was a Brahmunee, and she 
hvtmt, upon receiving intelligence of her husband's death, 
with his turban and other clothes. Two persons who ap- 
peared to >have assisted at this murder were conkmitted to 
take their trial at the sessions. Of aged Suttees there are 
many examples in the Returns (Par. Papers, rol. v. 1827), 
several iiaviiig bKrned who were eighty and upwards, some 
aged ninety, and one at the great age of ninety-^five. 
Surely these poor creatures ought to have been assumed to 
be irrational, and their anticipation of an event which must 
be so near, prevented on that ground." 

The indifference frequently manifested, by the uoiiappy 
mothers, to their orphan children, confirms the propriety 
of the rather singular reply of a Magistrate to an official 
inquiry relative to the act of Suttees being voluntary or 
not : — ** The act, X apprehend, is always voluntary, pro- 
vided a being in a state of stupefaction and delusion 
can be said to possess the power cf volition,* The aggre- 
gate of Suttees in India in ten years, according to the 
official documents, is tj632 ; allowing two children only to 
each widow, here are 13,264 orphans, '* left to the mercy 
of those who have decoyed their mothers to the* fathers' 
funeral pile." The misery of a Hindoo orphan was thus 
pathetically described by a writer in a Calcutta paper, while 
the author was in India : — 

** Upon a woody bank I roamed at eve, 

Close to the Ganges gliding stilly on ; 

And through a glade the sun's last beams I saw, 

And o'er the golden tide their radiance streamed. 

It was a sweeUy pensive hour of calm ; 

The Myna chirped upon the Mango bough, 

And gently cooM the Ring-dove 'midst the leaves. 

I heard a ^tful cty of infant wail, 

Tremulous, floating on the breeze of eve, 

Aiid paused to listen, when these words I caught : 

« Mother ! mother I Oh my dearest mother 1" 

I hurried onward to the sandy Wkste 

That edged the water. On the groufid there sat, 

Near to a heap of ashes Unould'ring drear. 

Weary and desolate, a little child : 

" ■■ ■* ■ — I 

* Par. Papers, vol. v. p. 26. 

British Humanity* 17 

One tiny hand a drooping flower held fast^ 

£mblem most meet of that unhappy child ; 

The other wiped away the scalding tears 

That from her dim black orbs came trickling down, 

As on that ashy heap she gazed intent, 

Repeating still her cry of infant wail, 

^ Mother ! mother 1 Oh my dearest mother I" 

^ Stranger !'' exclaimed the aged peasant near, 

" The story of that orphan soon is told : 

Child of my child, her father paid the debt 

Which awful nature claims, nor recked his babe, 

Who deemed him sleeping in a heavy sleep :— 

' And wont you wake my father V she would say, 

* And wont you speak, nor take me on your knee V 
The Brahmun came — a garland in his hand — 
And hung it round the victim mother's neck : 
And then the living with the dead went forth. 

The drear procession reached the fated ground 

Where wood and fire as meet convenient lay : 

The child her mother followed, laughing still, 

Or skipped before her, sportive as a lamb ; 

Or grasped the hand whose soft caress was life. 

At last the parent stoop'd and kiss'd the child. 

And, as she kissed her, down a truant tear 

Trickled away, and from her quivering lips. 

The pangs she spoke not, breathed upon tier child. 

A quick presentiment appear'd to cast 

Its instant gloom upon the little one : 

Unto her mother's bosom fast she clung. 

And sobbed and wept. The mother, soothing, placed 

Yon flower, now faded, in her infant hand. 

The frail pledge remains, but O the giver ! 

One last long kiss she gave, then tore away ; 

And then the pile she mounted by the side 

Of him who pressed that bridal couch of death. 

Her infant fain would follow ; but we held 

The little struggler, while her piercing cries 

In vain reach^ her, who soon could hear no more. 

* Come back, my mother! mother! mother! mother !' 
The din of direful discord rose, and smoke 
Ascended blackly through the sunny air. 

The crowd dispersed, but still the babe remains^ 
And has remamed since that dread morning hour. 
Weeping, and gazing for her mother there ; 
And nothing finds but loneliness and ashes. — 
Mark the said wildness of her young despair. 
As on the ashy heap her gaze is fix'd. 
With bitter tears and thick convulsive sobs ; 
And hark again ! her cry of infant wail, 

* Mother ! mother ! Oh my dearest mother !' "* 

• This was most probably written on reading the following account : — 
" As a party were proceeding up the river, in passing Isharah, near 


18 India's Cries to 

The frequent mobility of the widow to escape, arising 
from the binding of the living and the dead together, the 
quantity of wood laid upon them, and the administration of 
intoxicating opiates (circumstances frequ^itly stated in 
relations of this appalling rite), show the real character of 
this sanguinary superstition. 

The Authoi^s colleague at Cuttack, the Rot. C. Lacey, 
describing a Suttee that occurred in that city, March 21, 

1826, says,— 

" The young woman was about serenteen years of age, the wife of a 
Bengalee Brahmun, and was accompanying her husband on a pilgrimage 
to Juggernaut. Having performed ner perambulations round the pile of 
death, she laid herself hy the corpse of her husband amidst the approving 
cries of the Bengalees present, ^ O mother. Juggernaut save thee ! Jug- 
gernaut save thee ! O happy and blessed \ The pile seems to have been 
unusually high ; plenty ot ghee and other inflammable materials were 
thrown upon it, and, after she had laid down, a quantity of wood was 
heaped upon her. The proper authorities were present. How they were 
allowed to lay a pile of wood upon her, and thereby render her escape 
impossible had she been inclined, I cannot imagine; it could not be 
because there was not sufficient to consume the bodies without it ; and it 
was quite inconsistent with a voluntary sacrifice ; because in the time of 
trial, when infatuation is most likely to yield to the love of life, the poor 
victim could not act according to her own wishes, nor could any one 
judge of ^her change of resolution, as the fire must have diminished her 
strength, and rendered her quite unable to raise herself from under 
twenty or thirty seers (forty or sixty pounds!) weight of wood. Thus 
confined, the poor <nreature was consumed to ashes. Oh ! when shall 
we wash our hands from human blood T^ — Friend of Lidia, Ap. 1826. 

The levity, apathy, and brutality which characterize these 
immolations, demonstrate that the practice is any thing 
rather than a religious rite ; and hence the imperious duty 
of the Legislature to abolish them as fanaticism and mur- 
der, A correspon<^ent in the West of England, who re- 
sided several years in India, in a letter dated October, 

1827, thus describes what he had witnessed : — 

Serampore, their attention was attracted by the cries of a child, and on 
drawing to the shore they were redoubled. Near her was lying a 
heap of ashes, not quite extinquished, and which appeared like the 
remains of a recent concremation. A number of children were standing 
near her, and at a little distance three or four grown up people looking 
on very contentedly. An inquiry was made by a humane individual 
whence the cause of her distress proceeded, and it was some time before 
an answer could be obtained. At length it was ascertained that the 
athes were those of the funeral pile on which the mother of this unfortunate 
child had immolated herself with the body of her husband, and the lamenta- 
tions of the child were occasioned by this cause.*' Bengal HurkarUy 
August, 1823. 

BriH$h Humanity. IS 

** I liave seen two Suttees, end might have seen many others, but the 
effect was too powerful for my feelings. The first was an aged female ; 
she appeared to go through the ceremonies connected with her burning 
with extreme agitation; her own daughter, about twenty years of age, 
applied the blazing torch to the pile which consumed at once the bodies 
of her aged hther and widowed mother. The circumstances of the other 
widow were different; she was about sixteen yeart of age, young and 
beautiful. The dreadful scene had not the least appearance of a religious 
ceremony; it resembled an abaudoned rabble assembled for the purpose 
of worrying to death some tame animal, or a company of fiends rejoicing 
over the accumulated misery of human beings. Such were the confusion 
and levity of the people, while the poor woman was burning before their 
eyes, that all humanity appeared extinct in their breasts/' 

The following relation is from the Parliamentary Papers, 
relative to Suttees, vol, ii, p. 68 : — 

" One Seetloo, a Brahmun, died when absent from his family. A fort^ 
night afterwards his widow Hoomuleea, a. girl ai^ut fourteen years of 
age, proceeded to bum herself, the pile being prepared by her nearest 
relations, then at the village in which she resided. Her father Puttun 
Terwarry was in another part of the country, and does not appear to 
have been made acquainted with what was passing. Whether the sacri- 
fice was originally a Toluntary one has not been ascertained; it must be 
presumed it was so. 

'^The preparatory rites being completed, Hoomuleea ascended the 
pile, which was fired by her uncle the prisoner Sheolol. The agony 
was soon beyond endurance, and she leaped from the flames ; but seized 
by Sheolol, Bhichhook, and others, she was taken up by the hands and 
feet and again thrown upon it, much burnt, and her clothes quite con- 
sumed ; she again sprang from the pile, and running to a well hard by 
laid herself down in the watercourse, weeping bitterly. Sheolol now 
took a sheet offered for the occasion by Ro(»a, and, spn»dtng it on the 
ground, desired her to seat herself upon it. No, she said, she tooidd not 
io this ; he would again carry her to the fire, and she woM not submit to 
this; she would quit the family and live by beggary; any thing, if they 
would have mercy upon her. Sheolol, upon this, swore by the Ganges, 
tbat, if she would seat herself on the cloth, he would convey her to her 
home. She did so; they boimd her up in it, sent for a bamboo which 
was passed through the loops formed by tying it together, and carrying 
it thus to the pile, now fiercely burning, threw it bodily into the flames. 
The wretched victim once more made an effort to save herself, when, at 
the instigation of the rest, the Moosulman Buraichee approached near 
enough to reach her with his sword, and cutting her through the head she 
firil back, and was released from further trial by death. The number of 
spectators before whom this diabolical and most lamentable sacrifice was 
exhibited is variously stated ; about 200 persons were probably witnesses 
of it. A trial ensued, and the following was the sentence : — * Making 
allowances for the superstitious prejudices of the Hindoos concerned, and 
for the ignorance of the Moosulman, the Court do not discern in any of 
them the guilt of murder; and, viewing the case as culpable homicide, 
sentence the prisoner Buraichee to be imprisoned witli labour for five 
years ; and the prisoners Sheolol, Bhichhook, Hurrepal, and Ijrail, to be 
imprisoned without labour for two years, from this date.' " — Goruckpoore, 
.May 1821. Such an account needs no comment 

c 2 

20 . India's Cries to 

When, when shall the British Govemment see and feel 
the trae nature of this most barbarous custom, and by one 
merciful act of legislation abolish it for ever ? Thus saith 
the Lord« ** Learn to do well, seek judgment, relieve the 
oppressed, judge the fatherless, plead for the widow/' 


Remarks on the nature of the practice of Suttee, and on. 
the causes that occasiok its perpetration, or prevent 
its suppression. 

The enormity of the practice of burning widows with 
their deceased husbands would strike even the Hindoos 
themselves, did not a blind attachment to the vices of their 
forefathers overcome every natural feeling. In all the an- 
nals of human depravity it will be dilQScult to discover a 
'Custom so horrible in its nature, or so destructive in its 
consequences on individual and public happiness. This is 
not the case of a patriot relinquishing life to establish the 
freedom of his country, — it is not a martyr braving the 
flames to maintain the rights of conscience, — it is not a 
noble mind sacrificing even life itself on some occasion of 
exalted virtue to secure to posterity the benefit of its high 
example. On these occassions we feel a melancholy plea- 
sure in applauding a voluntary resignation of life. But it 
is the helpless and disconsolate widow torn from her family 
at the very climax of her grief, and hurried to the flames 
amidst the shouts of an unfeeling multitude. She must 
stifle every feeling of compassion for the ofl^spring of her 
womb, she must renounce them at a period when they 
stand most in need of her care, and, when weighed down 
with sorrow, she must take a last look on all mortal things, 
and enter the flames. Surely this is a case of unparalleled 
barbarity, and tends almost beyond any thing else to de- 
velope the extent of the depravity to which Hindooism 
owes its origin. 

How then is it possible that the murder of the amiable 
and defenceless should have continued so long ? How is 
it that common humanity has not overleaped every bound, 
and constrained superstition to desist from a course so in* 

British Humanity. 21 

iniman? Among other reasons which might be mentioned, 
this certainly has its share, that the whole of the horrible 
deed is really concealed from view. The victim being 
brought before the multitude in a state which scarcely 
leaves her the power of reflection, being hastily led 
through certain ceremonies, and hurried to the pile by 
those whose countenances wear the appearance of hilarity ; 
covered instantly with the fuel, held down by a pressure 
which renders all resistance totally unavailing, all the hor- 
rors of death are hid from the sight ; while the shouts of the 
unthinking crowd, which begin to rend the air the moment 
the torch is applied to the fatal pile, no less effectually con- 
ceal from the ear those agonizing shrieks, from which it is 
scarcely in nature to refrain at the touch of jhe flames. The 
agonies, and shrieks, and dying groans oi the unhappy 
victim are witnessed by no one,— but by Him who is the 
Avenger of blood. 

Those who are doomed to undergo these agonies, un- 
pitied, because never beheld, are the most amiable part 
of the Hindoo race ! If there be any thing to be found of 
conjugal fidelity, it resides, among these,, since an extra- 
ordinary degree of conjugal affection, real or ascribed, is 
made the lure by which these unhappy victims are betrayed 
to death. Those who are thus cruelty murdered year by 
year are, in most instances, the most amiable and the most 
virtuous of the Hindoos. 

If we turn to the unhappy offsprings who are abandoned, 
we behold a sight of still deeper woe ! — Scarcely recovered 
from the blow inflicted on them by the death of their 
father,' they are hurried from their once peaceful home to 
the funeral pile, to witness the death of their mother ! A 
state of the deepest misery succeeds to a state of the 
highest happiness with such rapidity as almost to deprive 
them of the exercise of their mental faculties. — ^The family 
compact is destroyed with the suddenness of an earthquake. 
The corpse of the father is scarcely cold before their only 
living parent is consumed in their presence. But there are 
circumstances of still greater enormity attached to this 
system ; the funeral pile must be lighted by the eldest son ! 
He accompanies his mother to the banks of the Ganges ; 
he beholds his mother, endeared to him by the recollection 
of a thousand acts of kindness, thrown on the funeral pile 
like a beast of sacrifice ; and, surrounded by his brothers and 
sisters, he lights up the* pile which consumes the living 

as India's Cries to 

parent with the dead. Every circnmstanee wUefa can: 
aggravate this scene of woe is here combined ; n<nr is it 
possible to conceive of any thing which conld add a deeper 
tinge of barbarity. 

The influence of this system is very destructive to the 
general happiness of society. — ^It aggravates every natoral 
calamity, and gives additional horror to every disease. In 
other countries the prevalence of an epidemic only serves 
to increase the energies of benevolence. In India there 
are no attempts made to stem the current of diseas^e, or to 
console the afflicted and bereaved. Those of the family, 
whom the disease has spared are only reserved for accumu- 
lated misery— the survivors, instead of receiving assistance^ 
are deprived of that parent who could most eflTeotoally have 
afforded it. Every epidemic assumes an aspect of tenfold 
horror. When therefore the country is afflicted with a 
destructive epidemic, the numerous victims to disease, the 
augmented number of female inunolations, the number of 
relatives who tremble for their sisters or their daughters,., 
added to the number of children who stand exposed by the 
ravages of superstition and death to the loss of all parental 
aid, form a consummation of misery to which no country on 
earth presents a parallel. 

By whom this crime is perpetrated is worthy of the 
strictest inquiry. With the victims themselves it can 
scarcely be said to originate; for, a few days previously, 
they are often as void of all desire to destroy themselves as. 
to destroy others; and they are generally averse to the 
deed till their minds are completely deluded by fallacions 
representations. The deed is generally encouraged by the 
relatives of the husband; those of the wife, on the contrary, 
being generally on the side for which nature pleads; al-^ 
though her own son, if old enough, is obliged to kindle the 
pile prepared for his mother's destructiwi. It is therefore 
on the husband's relatives that the fate of every female is 
suspended the moment her husband dies : and, when it is 
considered that they are bound to her by none of the ties 
of consanguinity, \i will not appear strange if some one or 
all of the following reasons should, in general, so prepon- 
derate, as to doom to the flames one for whom they can 
have little or no personal feeling. 

The honour of the family. — This is supposed to arise in 
proportion to the number of unhappy victims who can be 
mentioned as having devoted themselves to the flames. 

British Humanity. 29 

The husband's relatiyes of coorse claim to themselyas a 
certain degree of credit for having surmounted feelings of 
affection, which they never possessed ; while the number of 
widows in their families devoting themselves to the flames, 
appar^itly from love to their husbands, gives rise to the 
idea that these relatives of theirs possessed that excellence 
of character which rendered it impossible to survive their 
loss. The wish to get rid of a (tfrdtn.— -If her own 
relatives be unwilling to support her, or not suflSciently 
opulent, she must live with the surviving relatives of the 
husband. And, although her life is far from being an 
affluent one, a certain degree of expense is entailed on the 
family. The consideration of an expense, though small, 
yet scarcely terminable within the space of their own lives, 
added to the vexation often arising from female relatives 
living together, may possibly make them wish to rid them- 
selves at once of a heavy burden, when it can be done in a 
way which, instead of being esteemed dishonourable, or 
any proof of the want of affection, reflects a high degree of 
faistre on the character of the family. At least this is a 
temptation which humanity would not throw in the way of 
a Hindoo, who sets so little value on human life. While 
impurity reigns among these very relatives of the husband, 
perhaps in such a degree as to attach to itself no kind of 
disgrace, a deviation from purity of conduct in a widow 
would, in the public estimation, nx an indelible stain on 
the family of tl^ deceased husband. When the hazard of 
this dishonour, through perhaps a long life, is present to 
minds in which no natural affection towards a brother's 
widow is supposed to exist, it will excite little surprise 
that they should^ on the death of her husband, decide also 
CO the death of his relict. 

The death of the mother deprives the children of their 
natural guardian. — It sometimes happens that a man who 
is opulent dies, and leaves children in a state of mere in- 
fimcy. That their wealth should never be desired by the 
surviving relatives is what no one will expect who is ac- 
quainted with the history of human nature^ and much less 
those who sure aware with what earnestness one brother 
among the Hindoos will labour to supplant another. That, 
in cases of infancy, an affectionate mother should stand in 
the way of the surviving relatives of her husband, is only 
what might be naturally expected. The history of orphans, 
even in Christian countries, sufficiency shows us how 

24 . India s Cries to 

dangerous, in the hands of presumptive heirs, would be 
such a power of remoTing, under a religious pretence, the 
mother of rich but helpless orphans.^ All these are so 
'many temptations to the destruction of a widow, which, 
through this dreadful practice, may be accomplished without 
the least suspicion being excited of the real views of those 
interested in her death. 

Although the husband's relatives affect to dissuade her 
from the deed; it cannot be difficult to discern which way 
their minds really lean. From them the slightest hint, 
that they wish her to die, must operate on a widow of de- 
licacy like a sentence of death pronounced by a judge. 
With what feelings could she commit herself for life to the 
mercy of those who had discovered this wish, and felt in the 
least disappointed by her refusing to precipitate herself into 
the flames? The law itself, indeed, insists that, while she 
is never to marry again, she is also to lay aside every thing 
like ornament for the rest of ^ her days, and every sign of 
cheerfulness ; that she is never to make a full meal, and 
that one day in every week she is to devote wholly to 
fasting and grief. In these circumstances it is almost im- 
possible that any degree of ill-treatment, which the resent- 
ment of her husband's relatives might dispose them to in- 
flict on her, could interest her neighbours in her sufferings 
so as to procure her redress; particularly when the interior 
of a Hindoo habitation, surrounded as it often is with 
walls, is nearly as impervious as an ancient castle, and the 
female relatives are scarcely more in 'the public view than 
were formerly the unhappy inmates of its dungeon. It is 
not strange, if, at the most distant intimation of this nature, 
from those on whose kindness depends every future miti- 
gation of her lot, a widow of sensibility should feel almost 
distracted, and prefer a speedy death to the unknown horrors 
of her future destiny. 
• Certain Brahmuns perform the ceremonies observed at 
the funeral pile on which a widow sacrifices herself. These 
Brahmuns receive even from the most indigent families 
something on a widow's devoting herself to the flames ; and 

* In the only case of Suttee in the Rungpore district (Moorshedabad), 
in 1824, the magistrate committed for trial all the parties concerned,, 
thinking there "was a strong suspicion, corroborated by the inability or 
refusal of the parties to explain, that the object of the ceremony was to 
get rid of the widow in order to secure some property left by the deceased' 
ta his brother in the event of her death, — Asiut, Journ. Sept, 1827. 

British Humanity. 2fr 

from some wealthy families as miicb as two hundred rupees 
on these occasions. While it is the obvious interest of these 
Brahmuns that the wife should be induced to destroy herself 
when the husband dies, they have access to every family, 
and are acquainted with the circumstances of the various 
inhabitants. In what circumstances must a helpless female 
stand, who has for her spiritual adviser, on the subject of 
her living or dying, a man who has every kindness to ex- 
pect from those who are presumptive heirs to the property 
of her infant son, or who may merely dread her devolving 
on them as a burden to the end of life ! Nor is it neces- 
sary to suppose that Brahmuns, in forwarding the views of 
an infirm husband's relatives, and preparing the mind of 
the wife for self-destruction, should consider themselves as 
auxiliaries in the murder of a fellow-creature. They must 
be supposed to be as much habituated to the employment 
from which they derive their gain, as a slave-captain to 
kidnapping and selling slaves, of whom probably a third 
die in the middle passage through ill treatment and want 
of air. They may possibly regard the act as meritorious, 
and admire those relatives who thus wish to raise the repu- 
tation of their families. The distant prospect of a large 
remuneration may urge them so to work on the mind of a 
simple, artless female, whose age is perhaps under twenty, 
that, at the moment of her husband's death, no persuasions 
shall be needed to induce her to make the fatal declaration — 
beyond the insidious dissuasions of her husband's relatives, 
increasing her desire by afiectedly doubting her resolution, 
and really inflaming her vanity. Were these relatives, 
however, sincere in these dissuasions, they have it always 
in their power to prevent the act, as the preparation of the 
frmeral pile, and all the expenses of the widow's destruction, 
devolve ^wholly on them. 

That other feelings than those of unconquerable affection 
for a hasband, often twice their own age, or than any in- 
spired by a steady belief in those wonderful t^les of conju- 
gal felicity to be enjoyed with him for boundless ages, in- 
fluence the minds of the greater part of these unhappy vic- 
tims, might be shown by numerous instances wherein widows 
have been prevented by accident from burning. 

A man of the writer cast, at Kon-nugur, about fourpailes from Seram- 
pore, between twenty and thirty years of age, died in December, 1817, 
leaving two wives, one about thirteen years of age and the other about 
sixteen. Both of these, in the usual manner, expressed their wish to 

96 India 9 Criis to 

burn with their deceased husband. The eider, being pregnmty^was ad^ 
vised to delay till after her confinement, and then to bum herself with 
something belonging to her husband. The younger, not being prevent- 
ed, was burned with the corpse. The elder solemnly engaged to bum 
herself a month after her connnement, till which period she was taken 
home by her own parents. She at first expressed such displeasnre, at 
being thus denied the opportunity of burning, as to beat herself severely 
and possibly accelerate her confinement ; but at the expiration of the 
month after that period, when called upon to fulfil her engagement, she 
had considered the subject more at leisure, and, being at home in the 
house of her own parents, she positively refused to destroy herself; nor 
could all the appeals made to her feelings, all the threats and reproaches 
poured upon her, alter her resolution. She was in the house of her 
parents, and completely independent of her husband's relatives; and^as 
every thing which could be done was confined to verbal exertion, she 
determined to remain with her paremts. 

As this instance is by no means a solitary one, we have 
little reason to conclude that the desire to destroy them- 
selves is more jBrmly fixed in the minds of multitudes than, 
it was in the mind of this young woman. The apparent 
wish to die, which is thus factitiously produced, is in most 
instances the mere effect of circumstances created by 
others ; and therefore no more exculpatory of the guilt of 
deliberate murder, than would be a manfss intoxicating 
another with wine, or any deleterious drug, so as to deprive 
him of the power of resistance that he migl^ secure his^ 

If these circumstances be carefully weighed,, it will ap- 
pear that this inhuman practice has not even those pre- 
tentions to its being a religious ceremony ^ which most people^ 
have been ready to imagine. J^ has no foundation in any 
peculiar command given in the shastras. Nor indeed is 
there in the ceremony any thing that marks it as being pecu- 
liarly of a religious nature. The woman devotes herself ta 
no deity ; her professed object is merely that of rejoining 
her husband in a state of happiness. Certaia Brahmuns 
officiate and obtain a sum of money on the occasion ; but 
this is not peculiar to this ceremony ; in almost every con- 
cern of life Brahmuns are called in, and there are few 
which are not to them a source of profit.^ 

There is in this act a violation of the laws of nature, not 
only on the part of the widow, but also on that of her son^ 
who sets on fire the funeral pile. All civilized nations have 
agreed that it is the duty of a child to honour its parents : 
hence, when a Grecian lawgiver was asked why he had 

* Friend of Indiajfvol. i, p. 301—304. f Vol. ii. p. 319—330. 

Brituh Huwumiiy. 87 

tfecSed vo poowlimeiit for the murderer of a parent, 
herefriied that he did not believe such a monster could ever 
exist ; and hence the Romans erected a temple in honour 
of one who had, in an extraordinary manner, supported a 
parent, when dying in a dungeon. The writer very well 
recollects, that an English child, when he heard the rela* 
tion of the Bengalees burning their own mothers, very 
gravely asked : '' And, Sir, dotCi they hang^ them far itV* 
The unnatural friends who urge the mother and son to the 
perpetration of the murderous deed, the Brahmuns who 
ofBciate, and the multitude who applaud the act, are all 
guilty of murder, accordmg to the laws of Menu ; for he 
states that, in any crime, the instigator, the perpetrator, and 
the encourager, are equally criminal. If we view things 
in this light, we shall find that th^re is no country in sJl 
the world so full of murder^v and murder as Bengal. It 
has g^ierally been considered that the burning of a widow 
is a simple act, which affects only the individual who suf- 
iets ; bat it is not so. How many urge her to it ; how 
many assist her at it ; and how many rejoice at it! This 
swells the enormity of the crime more than a hundred fold. 

The shastras have attempted to extol the practice very 
highly in reference to the persons immediately concernecC 
and have asserted that the merit of the deed is so great, 
that its influence will extend to the individuals and their 
ancestcNTS for an almost indefinite period. The very words, 
however, which they have used to celebrate this conduct, 
s^ord the plainest proofs of its demoralizing efiects. While 
the consequences which result from this system to the be- 
reaved families are passed over in silence, those which 
sesult to society in general are calculated with no degree 
of precision. Ungira aflSrms that this deed will ex|nate 
any crime. 

** If the man has been the murderer of a Brahmun, or 
imgrateful, or the murderer of his friend, the woman puri- 
fies him.'' 

Menu has declared that killing a Brahmun is an un* 
pardonable sin, for which there is no expiation. Passing 
by these gross contradictions, we would solicit attention to 
the moral tendency of these words. We should not have 
supposed that a people so mild and so averse to murder, 
as the Hindoos, would have trifled so strangely with the 
subject as to suppose that it could be atoned for by the 
burning of a widow. If one murder can thus expiate 

28 India s Cries to 

another, we may conelnde that any vice will produce its 
opposite virtae. It is happy for this country that the 
general disposition of the natives prevents them from turn- 
ing such ideas to the mischievous purposes of which they 
are capable. We* had heard it asserted by some, that gra* 
titiide was a thing so little known among the natives of 
Bengal, that they had not a word to express such an idea. 
This is a mistake ; yet what must we think of the extent 
to which ingratitude prevails, when it is maintained not to 
be ungrateful for a son to set fire to his own mother? And 
how are we to account for the extent of tbis bad principle 
but by attributing it to that spurious morality wliich 
teaches that any crime may be expiated by the murder of 
a helpless widow ? 

It appears that the shastras do not require or command 
a widow to bum ; in recommending it they have not taken 
into consideration whether it is murderous or not, but have 
expressed themselves so unguardedly as to leave the sub- 
ject fairly open, on their own grounds, to this objection : — 
in case ^e woman does not choose to bum, they prescribe 
methods by which she may obtain future bUss, widiout the 
pain of burning ; should the widow bum, upon the suppo- 
sition that she is a self-murderer, they involve also, in the 
charge of murder, the son and the Brahmuns that assist 
her; they do not, in the least degree, countenance the 
craelties which are now practised, in binding the widow to 
the dead body, and holding her down with bamboos ; the 
rewards, though apparently great, are little more than are 
attainable by offering a single flower or plantain ; since, 
according to the shastras, the Brahmuns and their families 
do not go to hell when they die, there cannot be the least 
need of the widow's suffering to deliver them; and the 
considerations on which this practice is recommended are 
such as tend to destroy all morality, and open the door to 
the commission of the most enormous crimes.* 

Such is the real state of the case respecting the burning 
of widows, which so many have been ready to tolerate un- 
der the idea of its being a most sacred religious ceremony, 
with which it would be sacrilege to interfere. With almost 
as much justice might the Slave Trade have been regarded 
with veneration, as a sacred relict of antiquity ; or the prac- 

* See Asiatic Observer (Jan.— April, 1824), No. V. VI. pp. 21 — 24 ; 
No. VII. pp. 111—1 2a 

Briiuh Humanity. .29 

tice of killing all prisoners taken in war ; or that of sacri- 
ficing hecatombs of men at the funeral of a fayoorite chief; 
or the conduct of certain banditti in India^ who are said to 
seize men and immolate them at the shrine of their ima- 
gined deity. It has scarcely enough of religious ceremony 
connected with it to varnish it over with the name ofre^ 
ligion. Instead of being a deed of mere superstition, there is 
reason to fear it is too often the offspring of the meanest self- 
interest. It is not binding on all. It falls only on one sex, 
while the deed is perpetrated by. the other, whom it can 
never reach ; and of that sex it affects only one description 
of persons, and with these it is professedly optional ; were 
it a religious ceremony, it would be binding on all. It is 
never equally the interest of the husband's relatives that 
the widow should live, as that she should be burnt to death. 
With the former there is connected a certain loss of repu- 
tation, and the expenses of maintaining a person to the end 
of life ; with the latter, the full removal of this burden, 
and a high degree of reputation to their families. Is it 
right that in a country so richly endowed with the boun- 
ties of Providence, the mere question of interest should be 
suffered to doom the most amiable of our Hindoo subjects 
to the most cruel death, merely because their being unin- 
formed in mind renders them liable to the grossest decep- 
tions, and their being unable to support themselves renders 
them dependent? We would entreat all to remember, mur- 
der concealed from public view is murder still ; and 
that our not actually witnessing the dreadful deed, when we 
are certain that it is committed, will do little towards ex- 
onerating us from guilt."* 


The rite of Suttee not enjoined by, the most authoritative 
of the Hindoo legislators^ and opposed to their views of 
eminent virtue. Force forbidden by the shastras, yet 
frequently employed. 

A learned native, named Ram Mohun Roy, well known 
by his luminous examination of the Hindoo Theology and 

* Friend of India, vol. ii.pp. 330—332. 

90 Indians Cries to 

Philosophj* IB I81S printed and widely circnlaled a tract 
in the Bes^lee language, the object of which is to dissuade 
his countrymen from the practice of this horrid rite : he 
also published a translation of the tract in English. It is 
in the form of a dialogue between an advocate and an op- 
ponent of the system. The advocate cites various passages 
from Ungira, Vyas, Hareet, and the Rig-ved, which enjoin 
or applaud the practice of self-immolation* Against these 
passages the opponent produces an extract from Menu, the 
great Hindoo legislat<»', of whom the Veda itself says, 
** Whatever Menu has said is wholesome :" which Vrihus* 
pute corroborates by adding^ '* Whateiwr is contrary to 
the law of Menu is not commendable." The extract is as 
follows : " Let a widow emaciate her body, by living vo- 
luntarily on pure flowers, roots, and fruits ; but let her not, 
when her lord is deceased, even pronounce the name of 
another man* Let her continue till death, forgiving all in- 
juries, performing harsh duties, avoiding every sensual plea* 
sure, and cheerfully practising the incomparable rules of 
virtue which have be€«i followed by sueh women as weve 
devoted to one husband." 

From this passage the opponent infers, that^ as Menu di- 
rects the widow to pass her whole life as an ascetic, he 
intended she should remain cUive for tim purpose ; and that 
tills direction of Menu is totally opposed to the directions 
of the other sages-; and that their authmty must bend to 
that of this great legislator. The opponent adduces as his 
next argument, the disesteem in which the generality of 
the Hindoo sages regard works of merit or demerit, or, more 
properly, works done with the interested motive of gaining 
future happiness ; and to show that these are not necessary 
to the attainment of what the Hindoos esteem the highest 
state of felicity, absorption in Brumhu, he quotes the fol- 
lowing passage from tiie Veda : ** By living in the practice 
of regular and occasional duties, the mind may be purified. 
Thereafter by hearing, reflecting, and constantly meditating 
on the Supr^ne Being, absorption in Brumhu may be at- 
tained. Therefore, from a desire during life of future frui- 
tion, life ought not to be destroyed." The immolation of 
the widow being urged wholly on interested motives, that 
of enjoying numerous ages of happiness with her deceased 
husband as its fruit, is therefore opposed to that sysitem, 
which magnifies the value j)f divine knowledge as leading 
to absorption in Brumhu. 

British Humanity. 81 

The advocate for the practice replies — that the ktec 
aodiorities^ in direetnig the woman to bum herseUV do not 
iH>ntradict this law of Menu ; and supports this idea by 
saying M^m directs theperfonnance of Sundhya or evening 
worship, but is silent as to worshipping Huri, by caUia^ 
aloud on his pame ; while Yyas prescribes calling on the 
name of Hnri, and adds that the words of Vyas do not 
contradict those of Menu. He therefore iolerfi, when 
Viidinoo and others command the widow to follow \m hus- 
band through the flame, they do not contradict the com- 
mand of Menu. This the opponent meets with the utmost 
^ase by showing that there is no analogy in the oases, the 
perfonnance of Sundhya not preventing any one invoking 
the name of Huri during another part of the day, while a 
woman burning herself with her husband will infallibly fffe- 
vent her living the life of an ascetic ; and completely fixes 
the charge oi contradicting the immutable laws of Menu 
on those who have prescribed this practice. The advocate 
for the practice endeavours to justify it further by quoting 
the Big-ved and Hareet, as commending it. This the op- 
ponent confutes by various passages esteemed sacred by 
the Hindoos, which reprobate men performing religioui 
rites merely from interested motives* and among the jsest 
the following from the Bhagvut-Geet, which be terms 
the essence of all the Smritees, Foofansy and Itahases : 
*' All thojie ignorant persons who attach themselves to the 
words of the Vedas that convey promises of fruition^ 
consider those falsely alluring passages as leading to real 
liappiness^ 0J»d say that besides them there is no other 
reality. Agits^ed in their minds by these desires, they ba^ 
heve the abodes of the celestial gods to be the chief object ; 
and they devote themselves to those texts which treat of 
i^eremonies and their fruits, and entice by promises of en*- 
joymeat. Such people can have uo real confidence in the 
Supreme Being/' These passages the advocate at length 
acknowledges to be indeed consistent with the Vedas, with 
Menu, and with the Bhagvut^Geet* adding, however: 
^' But from tiiis I fear that the passives of the Vedas and 
other shasitras, that prescribe Coi^remation and Pastcrema^ 
tioo as the means of attaining heavenly enjoyments, must he 
consid^ed as only means to deceive J' This the opponent of 
the practice very dex-trously obviates, by urging that these 
oouUi intend no deception ; they only set before mankind 
two ttiediods ef obtaining happiness, Uie one exceUent, the 

32 Indians Cries to 

other mean and unworthy for those who are enveloped in 
desire, passion, and cupidity, who, if they had no shastras 
holding out rewards, would reject all shastras, and follow 
their own inclinations like an elephant unguided by the 

Unable to urge any thing better, its advocate insists that, 
after all, a practice handed down to them by Hareet and 
others ought not to be set aside. This his opponent meets 
not only by saying that this argument is inconsistent with 
justice, but by urging the violation of their own rule 
in the very act of burning. The direction is, that " the 
widow shall voluntarily quit life ascending the flaming pile 
of her husband." Now, isays he, "You first bind down 
the widow along with the corpse of her husband, and then 
heap over her such a quantity of wood that she cannot rise. 
At the time too of setting fire to the pile, you press her 
down with large bamboos. In what passage of Hareet or 
the rest do you find authority for thus binding the woman 
according to your practice ? This is in fact deliberate female 
murder.'' The advocate urges as an excuse for this horrid 
practice, that were the woman to shrink back terrified with 
the flames, after having recited the usual incantations, it 
would be sinful, and be considered disgraceful by others. 
The sin his opponent treats with due contempt, by saying 
that according to themselves it could be expiated by be- 
stowing the value of three kahuns of cowries (three- 
fourths of a rupee); and justly reprobates the idea of 
esteeming the prevention of murder a disgrace. . The 
advocate, driven to his last resort, defends the bind- 
ing down the afflicted widow merely on the ground of its 
being a custom observed throughout Hindostan. This his 
opponent denies, and then justly reprobates, even were it 
thus universal. 

In some parts of Hindostan, however voluntary the 
widow may be in her determination, force is occasionally 
employed in the act of immolation. After she has circum- 
ambulated and ascended the pile, several natives bind her 
to the corpse of her husband, and instantly throw over the 
bodies, thus bound to each other, a large bamboo or two, 
which prevent the possibility of her extricating herself when 
the flames reach her. Logs of wood are also thrown on 
the pile, which is then set in flames in an instant. Scarcely 
a moment is left to the spectator to contemplate the scene 
before the unhappy woman is writhing in the agonies of 

British Humanity. 33 

death. The author of the pamphlet under re?iew states^ 
that this practice has been recently introduced, and that it 
is confined almost exclasively to Bengal. This information^ 
we have reason to believe, is perfectly correct. The use 
of force by means of bamboos is, we believe, not unfirequent 
in Bengal ; it is intended to prevent the possibility of the 
widow's escape from the flames, as such an act would be 
thought to reflect indelible disgrace on the family.^ The 
number of widows burnt in Bengal, however, exceeds, by 
nearly three times, the number burnt in all the other pro- 
vinces of Hindostan. Thus in numerous cases that force is 
used which renders all resistance on the part of the un- 
happy sufferer vain. Thb is totally contrary to the rules 
even of those shastras which commend the practice ; they 
strictly enjoin that the sacrifice shall; be perfectly voluntary 
in every stage of its progress. Constraint is forbidden by 
the very nature of the sacrifice. It is called a Suttee, be- 
cause a woman devotes herself to the flames to prove that 
she has continued immovably faithful to her husband. Not 
only therefore must the intention be voluntary, but, to evince 
this, the act of immolation must not include the most distant 
idea of constraint. 

The Supreme Government has for several years issued 
various regulations to the magistrates, strictly forbidding the 
immolation of widows in cases where the Hindoo shastras 
have forbidden it. Under the influence of these regula- 
tions, some females of tender age have been rescued from 
destruction, yet not a single murmur has been heard. 
Were the use of bamboos forbidden, we feel assured that 
the tranquillity of the country would not be disturbed for a 
moment. And if the apprehension that the widow, unable 
to ascend the burning pile^ might possibly reflect disgrace 
on the family by a cnange of mind, shoidd in any case in* 
duce the relatives to dissuade a female from incurring the 

* ^ It is a notorious ^t, that, especially in Bengal, in opposition to 
the express ordinance of the shastra, which forbids any restraint whaterer 
upon the widow to prevent her escape from the funeral pile, and pro- 
Tides for her being; lifted off in the event of her being terrified, she is 
often bound down with cords to the pile, with the body of her deceased 
husband, or &stened by bamboos placed over ber, so that she cannot 
possibly escape, notwithstanding a change of resolution/' J. H. Har- 
rington's Minute on the Suttee, June 28th, 1823. Par. Papers. Vol. iv. 
p. 14. Bishop Heber refers to this practice, Jour. Vol. i. p. 56. Auth. 


34 India's Cries to 

risk, the advantage would be entirely on the side of hn- 
manity and justice. Considering the British Government 
to be the greatest temporal blessing which Providence has 
conferred on this counta7, we cannot give up the hope that, 
ultimately. Government will abolish entirely a custom which 
involves the murder of the helpless and the innocent, al- 
most without the shadow of support from the Hindoo 


Review of a Pamphlet in defence of the burning of Hindoo 
Widows, written in Bengalee by a Pundit, 

To the pamphlet addressed by Ram Mohun Roy to his 
countrymen on the subject of the Suttee, noticed in the 
former chapter, this work is an answer drawn up by some 
of the pundits in Calcutta. It is sent forth without a name 
and without a title page ; but from private information, as 
well as from the pamphlet itself, we find that it is the work 
of men by no means deficient in learning. It is written in 
the form of a dialogue between an advocate for the system 
of burning widows, under the term '' Bidhaok," and an 
opponent, termed " Nishedhok." In the work every au- 
thority supposed to countenance the inhuman custom, and 
every scrap of Sunscrit found^n its side among Hindoo 
writers, is given in the original text, and translated into 
Bengalee. It is valuable from its containing every thing 
found in the Hindoo shastras in favour of this practice, and, 
if all this fall short of an absolute and indispensable in- 
junctionj the practice will be found to be as illegal accord- 
ing to the Hindoo shastras, as it is inhuman in itself. It is 
evidently intended for the perusal of Europeans also ; as 
an English translation is prefixed. In our extracts from 
this pamphlet we prefer quoting its own language for the 
sake of doing it every degree of justice. The work com- 
mences by the advocate urging the claims of his cause in 
the following sweeping declaration : — 

» Friend of India. Vol. i. p. 305—311. 

British Humanity. 3& 

'* It is ordained by Sratee, Smrtee, Pooranas, and other 
sacred books, that the women, on the death of their hus- 
bands, should die in Shuhu-munin» that is to bum (should 
bum) themselves alive with the corpse of their respective 
husbands ; and that, in want of the corpse, they should die 
in Unoo-murun, that is to bum (should bum) with somethings 
belonging to their husbands : which usages the great sages 
during all the four ages of the world, viz. Suttwa, Treta^ 
Dwapur, and Ealee, have regularly maintained in their 
codes. It is very improper that you throw obstacles to 
prevent such a matter." To this the opponent replies: 
" You say this is improper for want of knowledge of the 
shastras or law, but, when you know the shastra, you will 
no more say so." 

This forms the signal for the advocate to pour forth on 
the opponent every scrap of Sanscrit, in support of the 
practice, which he bad been able to collect. The chief of 
these authorities is that of Ungeera, who, however, does 
little more than recommend the practice. We give his 
opinion in the advocate's translation : — '' The woman that 
mounts the funeral pile of her deceased husband equals 
herself to Uroondhootee the wife of Yushishf ha, and en- 
joys bliss in heaven with her own husband. She that ac- 
companies her husband to the other world dwells in 
heaven for three and a half cootee years (thirty-five 
millions),* which is equal, to the number of hairs on a 
human body, and with her own power taking her husband 
up, in the same manner as a snake-catcher would have 
taken a snake out of its hole/ remains with him in diversion. 
She that goes with her husband to the other world purifies 
three generations, that is, the generations of her mother's 
side, father^s side, and husband's side ; and so she, being 
reckoned the purest and best in fame among women, be- 
comes too dear to her husband, and continues to divert 
herself with him for a period equal to the reign of fourteen 

* '< He \vho offers a single ripe plantain to Seeb, shall, with his rela- 
tions, be exalted to heaven for thirty millions of years.'' Asiatic Obs. 
(Ap. 1824.) « If," says Ram Mohun Roy, « in defiance of all the shas- 
tras, you maintain that ^such promises of reward are to be understood 
literally and not merely as incitements, still there can be no occasion for 
so harsh a sacrifice as burning people to death in order to sava the 
lives of progenitors ; for, by making an offering of one ripe plantain to 
Seeby or a single flower ofkurvbeer either to Seeb or Vi^noOf thirty mil- 
lions of Hoes of progenitors may be saved .'" 


96 India's Crus to 

Indras; and, although the husband be guilty of slaying 
a Brahmun or friend, or be ungrateful of the past deeds^ 
yet the said woman is capable of purifying him from all 
these sins. Hence," says the advocate, '* Cfogeera affirms, 
that after the demise of a husband, there can be no other 
duty for a chaste wife than to destroy herself in the fire." 

Purasura is then quoted as confirming part of this re- 
commendation : — ** The woman that goes with her husband 
to the other world, dwells in heaven for three and a half 
cootee years, which js equal to the number of hairs on a 
human body." Hareeta is, after this, introduced as en- 
joining it by consequence in the following observation : 
*' After the death of a husband, until his wife does bum 
herself in the fire, she cannot get rid of her feminine 
body." The Muhabharut is then adduced as declaring 
that a woman burning herself on her husband's funeral pile, 
atones for her having been a scold or even unfaithful through 
life, and secures her accompanying him in the other world, 
maugre all unwillingness on his part : and this although she 
bum herself from '* amours, wrath, fear, or afiection." The 
highest countenance given to the practice therefore, by 
their own writers (and these appear but four, Ungeera, 
Purasura, Hareeta, and Vyas), amounts only to a recom^ 
mendation of it from certain advantages the widow is deluded 
with the hope of obtaining ; that is, enjoyment of happiness 
with her husband ^by no means to etemity, but for as 
many years as there are hairs on the human body ; after 
which she must descend to the earth again^ and undergo 
all that vicissitude of birth which^ in the opinion of the 
Hindoos^ constitutes future punishment* 

The advocate for the burning of widows goes on to notice 
another authority, that of Vishnoo^Risee, who, however, 
leaves buming perfectly optional, in the following lan« 
guage : — ** After the demise of a husband, his wife shall 
either devote herself to Brumhachurya (a life of austerity), 
or mount the funeral pile of her husband." To remove die 
force of this option, the advocate adds, that the choice of a 
life of austerity would involve in it eight faults or crimes 
(but which he has not mentioned that the reader might 
judge of their nature), and that even this option is therefore 
to be rejected. He llien goes on to state the authority 
for Unoo-murun (a woman burning herself after her hus- 
band's death with something belonging to him), a practice 
by no means uncommon at the present day. For this he 

British Humanity. 87 

adduces the aathority of only a solitary writer^ the author 
of the Mutsja-Pooran : — " In case of the demise of a hus- 
band in a distant country, the chaste wife should purify 
her person by bathing, and then, taking her husband's shoes 
or another thing, enter into a burning pile to be prepared 
on purpose/' This he justifies by saying, that the Rig-veda 
declares such women not to be guilty of self-murder; which 
plainly indicates, if this be self-murder, in the opinion of 
the Hindoos, it would be condemned. Such is the whole 
of the countenance this advocate has been able to adduce 
from the Hindoo writers themselves ; and this, one quota- 
tion from Oosuna condemns in the gross, — it is the voice of 
nature involuntary speaking: — ''Let not Brahmunees, or 
fcives ofBrahmuns, suffer death by entering into a sepa- 
rate pile ; but, for the rest of the women, this law is most 
preferable.'' if it be meritorious to ascend the separate 
funeral pile, why deny this privilege to the daughters of 
Brahmuns? Nature spoke in the breast of this writer. 
He was a Brahmun, and he shuddered at the idea of the 
immolation of his daughter, for the sake of a husband, who 
might perhaps have treated her with neglect and cruelty all 
bis life. The Brahmuns of the present day consign them 
to the flames precisely as they do others ; a plain proof 
that a regard for the authority of their own shastras has 
little to do in continuing this practice. 

To these quotations from Ungeera, Hareeta, and Purasu- 
ra, the advocates for this practice are well aware, are op- 
posed authorities of far greater weight, and such as com- 
pletely nullify them and forbid this inhuman custom. The 
opponent is now made to quote these, that the advocate for 
the burning system may obtain an opportunity of invalidating 
them. He first adduces the famous legislator Menu, whose 
authority is paramount to that of every succeeding writer, 
as prescribing an opposite course for widows: — " Listen to 
the law which Menu has prescribed for the husbandless 
woman. ' After the death of husbands their wives should^ 
make themselves lean, by living upon sweet flowers, roots, 
and fruits; never mind the name of a man, and, until the 
time of their respective death, with resignation and restriction 
continue to observe the laws prescribed for Ekputnees 
(those who have married but one husband); that is, they 
should, with the desire of obtaining the state of chaste 
women, devote themselves to the law prescribed for Brum- 
hachurya« As thousands of young Brahmuns, who, before 

88 Indians Cries to 

their aniTing at fall age» devoted themselves to Bnimfaa- 
churya and begat no children, have gone to Surga or Heaven ; 
the chaste women in like manner, who, after their husband's 
death, devote themselves to the law of Brumhachurya, may 
obtain bliss in heaven though issueless.' Hence, says the 
opponent. Menu has ordained, that women, after their hus- 
band's death, should spend the remaining part of their lives 
in Brumhachurya. This decision of Menu the opponent 
confirms by adducing the following corroborative declara- 
tion from one of the Vedas : ' Know that whatever Menu 
pronounced is a medicine for the soul ;' and another from 
Vrihusputee, ' A Sreeti inconsistent with that of Menu is 
not praiseworthy.' " 

To remove this decision of Menu, which completely for- 
bids the practice, is the grand object of this work, and for 
the sake of this alone it is quoted. This the advocate, 
knowing that no commentator can erect himself into a law- 
giver, and abolish the law itself, first attempts by affirming, 
that it is only the Smritee inconsistent with Menu which is 
unworthy of regard ; but, as a woman can live a life of 
abstinence and chastity after burning herself, these two of 
course are not inconsistent ! Feeling ashamed of this ar- 
gument, he quits it, and adducing the following sentence 
from Juyminee, ** where there arises an inconsistency 
among laws, that maintained by many is preferable,'' at- 
tempts to infer, that the recommendation of Ungeera, Pu- 
rasura, and Hareeta, ought to outweigh the law itself 
enacted by Menu. Deserting this argument as untenable, 
he quotes a passage firom the Rig-veda, recommending the 
practice of burning, and affirms that the law of Menu on 
the subject means nothing more than that a woman who 
may by any accident be prevented from burning herself 
with her husband, or afterwards with one of his shoes, 
ought to devote herself to a life of austerity. The author 
of this pamphlet, while he professes to set the authority of 
' the Big-veda against that of the great Hindoo legislator, is 
however well aware that tlie Vedas contradict each other 
on this very point. That he may in some way or other 
obviate this discrepancy, so fatal to his argument, he now 
introduces the opponent as quoting a well known passage 
from the Veda which forbids the burning of widows in the 
following words : — ** As by means of living still, the duties 
usual and occasional can be performed to purify the mind, 
and a$ by hearing of, fixing our mind and devoting our soul 

British Humanity. 39 

to Bramhu or the Supreme Spirit, we can attain it (absorp- 
tion in Bruniha)^ no woman should therefore spend her life» 
that is, suffer death, in hopes of attaining Surga or bliss in 

This is the doctrine which it is the object of the writer 
of this pamphlet to overthrow. After the opponent has 
stated it, the advocate urges, first, that to infer from the 
authority of Menu and the Veda, that a woman, instead of 
burning herself, ought to embrace a life of abstinence and 
chastity, would strip the writings of those who recommend 
her burning herself of all authority! an overwhelming 
argument truly. He then adduces a sentence from Menu, 
to show that when one Smriti appears to have one meaning, 
and another a different one, both are to be held as law I 
The plain inference from this would be, that a widow ought 
to immolate herself on her husband's iiineral pile, and to 
embrace a life of austerity too ! To confirm this exposition 
the advocate quotes the following contradictory sentence 
by way of illustration: '' In the Otirata, or the oblations 
of clarified butter, offered to the consecrated fire, the 
Shorassee is to be taken ; and in the Otiratra the Shorassee 
is fwt to be taken." The just meaning of which contrary 
Sutras, says he, is, that if in this sacrifice the Shorassee be 
taken or received, the sacrifice is superlatively meritorious ; 
but, if it be not, the deed is still complete. From this 
illustration the writer infers, that if a widow wishes to 
attain connubial bliss in heaven, she may burn herself; 
but if she wishes final beatitude, she may embrace a life oi 
self-denial; and then adds triumphantly, '' See therefore 
that a woman's burning herself for the sake of connubial 
bliss in heaven has no way been forbidden." This only 
goes to say, that even by these authorities, if a widow 
desires final beatitude she is not commanded to bum her- 
self ; and that, according to them, all is merely matter of 
option. But a further examination of the subject will 
show that this recommendation, while viewed by them- 
selves as degrading in the highest degree, is subversive of 
the whole system of Hindooism. 

The Hindoos throughout India believe the human soul 
to form an integral part of Brumhu, or the Deity, and 
hence esteem the summit of future bliss to consist in what 
they deem final beatitude, or absorption into Brumhu. To 
the attainment of this all their endeavours are directed; 
for the sake of it the most tremendous austerities are per^ 

40 Indids Cries to 

formed ; aud nothing beyond this is supposed to be within 
the wish of man. There are, according to their ideas, 
many heavens or inferior stages of bliss, to be obtained by 
certain meritorious deeds. None of these, however, is 
considered lasting ; but the duration of every state of bliss 
is, according to them, proportioned to the merit of the 
deed of which it is esteemed the reward. Their state of 
misery indeed is esteemed no more lasting than that of 
happiness ; but every kind of suffering therein is supposed 
to be proportioned in duration to the demerits of the 
sufferers ; after which they also are said to be bom again 
on the earth, and there to undergo all the vicissitudes of 
transmigration till they become sufficiently pure to obtain 
absorption. Hence a woman who may bum herself for the 
sake of living with her husband in heaven for a certain 
period, on its expiration, descends to the earth, and, ac- 
cording to the Hindoos, may be found in hell in the course 
of years. 

The opponent is represented as approving this decision ; 
but, for the sake of its being answered, he is made to urge 
another objection in the following words : — " As in various 
shastras contempt has been poured on actions done from 
cupidity, a woman's burning herself from such motives is 
by no means proper." He then quotes the Kuthopu- 
nishut as declaring, that while the pursuit of the system of 
sacred wisdom is considered safe, he who pursues the other 
system, which includes a widow's burning herself, degrades 
lus own nature. This he further corroborates by a long 
quotation from the Bhaguvut Geet, which charges such as 
follow the system with acting only from cupidity and ambi- 
tion. The whole of this system, therefore, is, by their best 
writers, regarded as having nothing in it of the nature of 
virtue ; but as being in reality the indulgence of cupidity, 
ambition, and malice. Among these the opponent pro- 
perly classes a widow's burning herself with her husband's 
corpse, with the view of enjoying connubial bliss in heaven ; 
and intimates that, if actions of this kind are not evil, they 
are at least unnecessary. This fires the advocate, who, to 
overwhelm his adversary at once, exclaims, "Listen then 
to Srutee, ' A man wishing heaven for himself, shall per- 
form Ushwameda-jauga' (the sacrifice of a horse); and 
again, 'a man wishing heaven for himself, shall perform 
Jotisuma-jauga.' These, and other Srutees, are they to 
lose their spirits ? (that is, to have no effect). Say what 

British Humanity. 41 

is your answer ? The opponent humbly bows beneath the 
weight of this rebuke, and acknowledges that the Srutees 
which commend selfish actions are not useless, but intended 
for those who, previously filled with " amours, wrath, and 
covetousness," are not inclined to enter disinterestedly into 
the service of the Supreme God ; and that, without these 
Srutees enjoining them thus to sacrifice from cupidity or 
malice, they would be like an elephant without his guide. 
To prevent this, says he, certain jaugas were ordained to 
be performed by them; as, sena-jauga, by one wishing 
the death of his enemy ; pootrosti-jauga, by one longing 
for a son ; and jotistumorjauga^ by one wishing bliss in 
heaven. This concession is made with the view of enabling 
the opponent 'to bring forward the last objection he has 
left, that the advocate may demolish it like a man of straw. 
This is couched in the following words : — " If you maintain 
that the disinterested actions are better than those self- 
interested, why do you then, instelTd of permitting hus- 
bandless women to adopt the law of Brumhachurya, which 
gives final beatitude, endeavour to preserve the system of 
self-interested actions of Shuhu-murun and Onoo-murun, 
which produce bliss in heaven V 

This argument, which the advocate was aware must 
appear on the face of the subject, and must weigh in 
favour of a life of abstinence and chastity in preference 
to burning, he attempts to obviate by urging that a woman, 
in embracing a life of chastity, would still do it with a view 
to final beatitude, and therefore from self-interested mo- 
tives : hence as burning herself would also rescue her 
husband from the pit he might be driven into for slaying a 
Brahmun, or friend, or being ungrateful, together with the 
three generations before mentioned, and enable the woman 
to " get herself rid of her feminine sex," he esteems it far 
more desirable that she should burn." 

To this conclusive argument the opponent replies: — 
" Now your sayings are consonant with the shastras." 
Still, however, be suggests the probability of women's 
attaining the state of final beatitude, were they, after the 
death of their husbands, "to be disciplined in sacred wisdom, 
which, by burning themselves, they can never attain." To 
this the advocate has an unanswerable argument ready, 
that all instruction would be totally vain ; for, says he, " it 
would be attended with no other success than to condemn 
them for both the one aud the other;'* in other words. 

42 India's Cries to 

either they would not live the life of chastity recommended, 
or they woald be too dull to do it from proper motives. 
He concludes the argument with saying, *' It is therefore 
very improper that the women who have never been con- 
scious of so much as the meaning of the word wisdom, 
should be desired to follow the system of sacred know- 

These are the grounds on which those who oppose the 
abolition of the practice still desire to preserve this pri- 
vilege of burning alive their mothers^ their sisters, and 
their daughters. It is not because it is sanctioned by the 
Hindoo law ; for their greatest legislator positively forbids 
it by enjoining on widows a contrary course. But this 
unparalleled course of murder is practised wholly as a 
preventative! As a preventative of what J the effects 
of their dulness ! their inability to comprehend " the in- 
structions of sacred Wisdom!" What would be these 
effects? That they would live a life of abstinence and 
chastity from improper motives, from a desire af%er final 
beatitude! and thus, losing final beatitude, only obtain 
heaven. Yet what does this burning system itself profess 
to hold out to the poor widow ? Only a little evanescent 
bliss for a limited time. As for the other part, the poor 
widow^s dragging her murderous or ungrateful husband 
out of the hands of Yum (death), as a snake-catcher drags 
a snake out of his hold, it were much better not done. If 
he have died under the dominion of such barbarous or 
ungrateful dispositions, it were better far to leave him in 
the hands of Yum for a season, to be taught better princi- 
ples, than to take him with her to heaven with these feel- 
ings remaining in him. A wretched heaven indeed she 
would be likely to experience during these thirty-five 
millions of years. If he did not rnurder her there, it 
would be merely beqause she could not become mortal 
again. What then is even pretended as the superior 
advantage of burning? Nothing: while on their own 
principles it is optional, the option is quite against the 
widow's interests. 

This honest declaration, that their chief motive for sup- 
porting this system of burning is furnished by women's 
stupidity, brings to light a part of the creed of these advo- 
cates for matricide which few ever suspected to belong to 
Hindooism. The whole of the sex are hereby doomed to 
interminable misery, since they are declared to be such 

BriiUh Humanity. 43 

that it would be improper for them even to be desired to 
follow that system of sacred knowledge universally esteemed 
by the Hindoo writers the only path to final beatitude. 
Astonishing! To what absurdity — to what contradiction 
even of the whole system of Hindooism, have these advo- 
cates for burning their mothers and sisters reduced them- 
selves ! After all their pleadings for tenderness to their 
religious prejudices, it appears evident that this murderous 
practice is not more contrary to humanity than it is 
subversive of their own religious dogmas. 

The advocate evidently states, that, as they would not 
live a life of chastity, their burning themselves is the 
only preventive of their condemnation* And have they 
then this shocking idea of their female relations ? Will 
nothing preserve them in widowhood from a life of lewd- 
ness but being burnt alive ? Then a Suttee at once loses 
its name and its nature. It is no longer the effect of 
chaste affection; it is the highest dishonour to every 
family in which it may happen. It proclaims in the 
loudest manner, that the victim is so corrupt in her dis- 
position that there is no method of keeping her from a 
life of unchastity but that of burning her alive. But 
is it right that this preventive measure should be adopted 
with any one, -much less with such near relatives ? Is it 
agreeable to natural equity that a person should be burnt 
aUve, not for impurity of conduct, but to prevent it? 
If it be, ought it to be confined to one sex ? If this pre- 
ventive course be allowable at all, it ought not to be con- 
fined to the most virtuous, merely because they are the 
most defenceless ; it ought to be extended to the advocates 
of the measure themselves. If they do not discover an 
equal disposition to impurity, they may to other vices 
equally injurious to society, and, according to their own 
creed, equally punishable in the other world. The same 
preventive might with equal benevolence be exercised 
on them, or at least on such as seem most likely to per- 
petrate vice ; and, if they were less fond of the burning 
system than they say the poor widow is, they might be 
permitted to choose any other mode of dying, and thus the 
country would, in due time, be purified in the most effec- 
tual manner. 

The author having thus far silenced the opponent, now 
attempts to justify binding the poor widow fast to the 
corpse of her deceased husband, heaping wood upon her. 

44 India's Cries to 

and pressing her down with bamboos. For this purpose 
he makes the opponent, after acknowledging that the 
advocate for the system had given the "just sense of 
various shastras," observe, that instead of causing the 
women to mount the burning pile, as the laws direct, they 
make them first mount the pile, and then, having tied the 
widows to the corpse of their husbands, heap over them 
wood and large bamboos, and, setting lire thereon, bum 
them to death. " We proclaim,'' adds he, " that you must 
not slay women in such a manner." The advocate does 
not reply by denying the truth of this shocking fact, or by 
urging that it is too strongly stated ; but he defends it by 
saying, *' in whatever country the practice is to mount the 
full burning pile, there it is indisputable ; but that in those 
countries where this is not the practice, this following of 
local custom is not inconsistent with the shastras, quoting 
several authors to show that tbe usages and customs of a 
country ought to be observed. The opponent is then made 
to reply : By this rule, those who, reading in forests and 
mountains, make it their profession to kill living creatures, 
are to be held blameless. ** By no means," says the ad- 
vocate, *' for the actions of these rude foresters are not 
approved by men of fidelity, and the laws on the head of 
Shuhu murnn have been regularly maintained by the holy 
sages, philosophers, and the learned." The plain meaning 
is, that the learned have introduced into Bengal this custom 
of binding women to the corpse of the deceased husband, 
heaping wood on them, and pressing them down with large 
bamboos from a regard to the custom of the country, when 
no such custom existed till created by them ! 

The manner in which the advocate justifies their violat- 
ing the woman's promise to mount the burning pile, is 
still more singular. The woman, before she burns, pro- 
nounces what is termed the Sunkulpa, which is couched in 
the following terms—" I will mount the burning pile" 
Adverting to this the Opponent says, " How can the Sun- 
kulpa he completed, because it is pronounced with a pro- 
mise to mount a burning pile ? instead of which they mount 
it before it touches fire." This difficulty the advocate re- 
moves in a moment. Says he, " Whatever you'say regard- 
ing the incompletion of the Sunkulpa arises from your inat<- 
tention ; for, should a little part of a village or a cloth be 
consumed by fire, it is then said, even by learned men, that 
the village or cloth was burnt. In the same manner a little 

British Humanity. 45 

burning pile is also called a burning pile, and in that case 
the Sunknlpa was not^ incomplete." As much as to say» if 
a single twig be set on fire, this constitutes a burning pile ! 
In this manner do these men sport the violating even 
their own most sacred formulas, for the sake of securing 
the destruction of a poor defenceless widow. 

The next reply, for its levity and falsehood, is, if possi- 
ble, still more disgusting. The opponent is made to an- 
swer : — " I approve of your saying this ; but from what in- 
stances do the people attending funeral ceremonies tie up the 
women that are about to mount the burning pile ? and why 
are they not guilty of the sin of slaying women 1" To this 
the advocate replies : — " In the aforesaid text of Hareeta 
it was expressed, that until the women themselves cause 
their bodies to be consumed in the fire, they cannot finally 
get rid of their sex. In which case, should any part of 
Uieir bodies, while burning asunder in the piles, be slipped 
out thereof it cannot be wholly consumed'' It is diffi- 
cult to say, whether the indelicacy, the shocking levity, 
or the impudent falsehood of this reply be most to be 
detested. For men thus to sport with decency, hu- 
manity, and truth, in defence of murder, is of itself 
sufficient to condemn for ever the inhuman custom. 
The opponent having expressed his approbation of this rea- 
son for binding women, has only one scruple left, which is, 
whether those who assist in burning the widow are not 
guilty of sin. To this the advocate replies, that it rather 
exalts them to glory than renders them guilty of sin, which 
he confirms by reciting the following example from the 
Mutsya^oorana. — " There was a prostitute, named Leela- 
vutee, who, having resolved to make an ofieriug of an arti* 
ficial salt-hill, a goldsmith undertook the work, and per- 
ceiving it to be a divine action he took nothing from the 
girl for his hire, but constructed for her a salt-hill with so 
much elegance that afterwards, in reward thereof, the said 
poor and theological goldsmith, together with his wife, was 
endowed with immense riches, and became, himself the 
monarch of the seven-dweep universe, with a shining form 
equal to the rays of ten thousand suns." Hence he gives 
the opponent to understand, that whoever assists in burning 
a widow is likely to reap glory, as well as this theological 
goldsmith for assisting the prostitute in her devout offering. 
Thus do the supporters of this system, by the most idle 

46 India's Cries to 

fabkSf as weQ as the most indecent exampUs^ trifle with 
the real murder of their female relatives. 

We subjoin extracts from a document drawn up in Sunskrit, 
by MrityooDJuy-Vidyalunkur (the chief pundit successively 
in the college of Fort William, and in the Supreme Court), 
at the request of the chief Judge in the S udder Dewanee 
Adawlut, who wished him to ascertain, from a comparison 
of all the works extant on the subject, the precise point of 
law relative to burning widows, according to those who re- 
commend the practice. This document, as the compiler of 
it, from his own extensive learning and the assistance of his 
friends, had an opportunity of consulting more works on the 
subject than almost any pundit in this presidency, may be 
regarded as possessing the highest legal authority according 
to the Hindoos. After having consulted nearly thirty works 
on the subject, current in Bengal and the northern, western, 
and southern parts of Hindostan, among which are all those 
quoted for the practice by the author of this pamphlet, he 
says: — '^ Having examined all these works, and weighed 
their meaning, I thus reply ta the questions I have been 
desired to answer. — ^The Juttee Mullah Bilas shastra directs 
the following formula to be addressed to the bride by the 
priest at the time of marriage : * be thou perpetually the 
companion of thy husband, in life and in death.' Hareeta, 
a later writery says that it is the inheritance of every 
woman belonging to the four casts, not being pregnant or 
not having a little child, to burn herself with her husband." 
The compiler afterwards quotes Vishnoo'tnooneey as speak- 
ing thus, — *' let the wife either embrace a life of abstinence 
and chastity, or mount the burning pile ;' but he forbids the 
latter to the unchaste." He then enumerates particularly 
the various rules laid down by him and others who have 
followed him on the same side of the question, relative to 
the time and circumstances in which a woman is permitted 
to bum herself, and in what cases she is even by them ab- 
solutely forbidden. These extracts show that binding the 
woman, and the other acts of additional cruelty which the 
author of this pamphlet justifies, are totally forbidden. The 
Soodheekoumoodee, as quoted by the compiler, says, — " Let 
the mother enter the fire after the son has kindled it around 
his father's corpse ; but to the father's corpse and the mother 
let him not set fire ; if the son set fire to the living mother 
he has on him the guilt of murdering both a woman and a 

British Humanity. 47 

mother.^' Thas the possibility of a woman being bound to 
her husband's corpse is taken away : the son is not to be, in 
the least degree^ accessary io the mother^ s death ; if she 
bnrn herself at all, it must be by throwing herself into the 
flames already kindled. And the Nirnuya-sindoo forbids 
the use of any bandage, bamboos, or wood, by way of con- 
fining the woman on the funeral pile ; nor before she enters 
it must the least persuasion be used, nor must she be placed 
on the fire by others. Thus the practice as existing in Ben- 
gal is deliberate murder, even according to the legal au- 
thorities which recommend burning as optional. 

Mrityoonjuy shows, from various authors, that though 
burning is termed optional, it is not to be recommended. 
To this eflect he quotes the Vijuyuntee : — " While Brum- 
hachurya and burning are perfectly optional, burning may 
arise from concupiscence, but Brumhachurya cannot ; hence 
they are not equally worthy, how then can they be equally 
optional ? By Brumhachurya the widow obtains bliss, though 
she have no son." He then quotes several authors, as de- 
claring that women ought not to bum, because it is merely 
a work of concupiscence ; the Julwa mala-vilas and others 
as declaring that the practice is merely the effect of cupi- 
dity, and not the fruit of a virtuous and constant mind ; and 
the Mitakshura as declaring that by embracing a life of 
abstinence the widow, by means of divine wisdom, may ob- 
tain beatitude ; and hence, a woman's burning herself is im- 
proper : adding, that in former ages nothing was heard 
of women's burning themselves: it is found only in this 
corrupt aae. 

The following is the conclusion drawn by this able pun- 
dit and jurist : — '' After perusing many works on this sub- 
ject, the following are my deliberate ideas. Vishnoo-moo- 
nee and various others say, that, the husband being dead, 
the wife may either embrace a life of abstinence and chas- 
tity, or mount the burning pile ; but, on viewing thewholcy I 
esteem a life of abstinence and chastity to accord best with 
the law; the preference appears evidently to be on that 
side. Vyas, Sungkoo, XJngeera, and Hareeta, speaking of 
a widow burning, say, that by burning herself widi her bus- 
band she may obtain connubial bliss in heaven ; while, by 
a life of abstinence and chastity, she, attaining sacred wis- 
dom, may certainly obtain final beatitude. Hence to de- 
stroy herself, for the sake of a little evanescent bliss, cannot 
be her duty ; burning is for none but those who, despising 

48 India's Cries to 

final beatitude, desire nothing beyond a little short-lived 
pleasure. Hence / regard a womafCs burning herself as 
an unworthy acty and a life of abstinence and chastity as 
highly excellent. In the shastras appear many prohibi- 
tions of a womarCs dying with her husband^ but against a 
lifo of abstinence and chastity there is no prohibition. 
Against her burning herself the following authorities are 
found: — In the Meemangshadurshun it is declared that 
every kind of self-inflicted injury is sin. The Sankhya says, 
that a useless death is absolutely sinful. The killing for 
sacrifice commanded by the shastras has a reasonable cause, 
and is yet sinful in a certain degree, because it destroys 
life. And while, by the Meemangsha, either of the two 
may be chosen ; by the Sunkhya, a life of abstinence and 
chastity is alone esteemed lawful. But, by the Vedanta, all 
works springing from concupiscence are to be abhorred and 
forsaken ; hence a woman's burning herself from the desire 
of connubial bliss ought certainly to be rejected with ab- 

" No blame whatever is attached to those who prevent a 
woman burning. In the shastras it is said that Kundurpa 
being consumed to ashes by the eye of Shiva, his wife, 
Rutee, determined to bum herself; and commanded her 
husband's friend, Mudhoo, to prepare the funeral pile. 
Upon this the gods forbade her ; on which account she de- 
sisted, but by Kalee-das no blame is attached to them for 
this conduct. Thus also in the Shree^Bhagubut ; a woman, 
named Kripee, had a son, a mighty hero, from love to whom 
she forbore to burn herself with her husband ; yet she was 
deemed guilty of no sin therein. Now also we hear of sons 
and other relatives attempting to dissuade a woman from 
burning ; yet they are esteemed guilty of no crime. It is 
also evident that a woman, in thus burning herself, dies 
merely from her own self-will, and from no regard to any 
shastra ; such the command of a thousand shastras would 
not induce to die. They merely reason thus : ' By the 
death of my husband I have sustained an irreparable loss ; it 
is better for me to die than to live ;' hence a woman deter* 
mines to die : and her relatives, seeing this mind in her, 
provide the funeral pile, and say, ' if you are determined to 
die, to die by falling from a precipice would be tedious, die 
in this manner:' thus a father who has a son determined to 
go to a distant country, finding all dissuasion vain, at length 
sends a guide with him who knows all the rivers and dan- 

British Humanity, 49 

gerous places. The various shastras therefore describe this 
action as being merely that of one who, having received an 
incurable wound, is determined to die, whether by falling 
from a precipice, by fire, or by water." 

After this full investigation, by one so able and possessing 
such opportunities, the subject, as far as relates to the law 
of the Hindoos, or to the countenance it receives from the 
Hindoo system, may well be supposed to be fully before the 

While the practice is allowed to have been recommended 
by certain writers, it is evident that it was never considered 
as a law, or as a religious injunction essential to the duty of 
a good Hindoo. If it be a law, the greater part of India 
must have lived in a state of direct disobedience to the laws of 
their own religion ; for, as the recommendation is directed 
to widows of every cast, it must have been imperative on all, 
at least as matter of conscience. Yet, if the number of 
widows burnt in fiengal annually does not exceed five hun- 
dred, it cannot be obeyed even in Bengal, where it is most 
prevalent, by at least ninety^nine out of a hundred of the 
population, and in the western part of Hindostan by a still 
greater proportion;* while, in the southern part of the 
British dominions, it is scarcely regarded at all. 

Bat many have condemned the very principle on which 
it has been recommended. Those who contend for the 
burning of widows hold that certain deeds, though done 
from the most unworthy motives, are in themselves so 
available as to merit a certain degree of recompense. 
All these deeds the more learned treat with the great* 
est contempt, declaring them to be nothing more than 
vice in another shape. These writers, therefore, view 
a woman's burning herself as perfectly unlawful. Thus 
those who form the great support of the Hindoo sys- 
tem totally condemn the very PRINCIPLE on which 
the practice is at all recommended^ while they insist 
that the law commands a widow to live a life of ab- 
stinence and chastity. That these compose the greater 

* <' Supposing the ei^tire Hindoo population of the Bengal Presidency 
to be 50,000,000, and the annual deaths to be 1 in 33, or above 
1,500,000 ; a sixth of this number, or 260,000, might, on a general com- 
putation, be assumed as the number of Hindoo females becoming widows, 
of whom little more than 600 devote themselves on the death of their 
husbands." (Par. Papers, July, 1825, p. 11.) How easily might thest 
be saved by Britain^s paternal arm! Auth. 


50 India^$ Cries to 

part of the Hindoos^ may be inferred from the proportion 
of widows bomt alive when compared with the whole popu- 
lation of Hindostan. 

Such is the state of things relative to this practice, even 
when described by its most strenuous advocates. As a 
command it has not the least foundation in the Hindoo sys- 
tem. As a recammetidation it has not been supported by 
one-fifth of the Hindoo writers on ethics or jurisprudence, 
nor practically regarded by a thousandth part of those who 
profess Hindooism. It is in direct opposition to the com- 
mand of the great Hindoo lawgiver, grounded on principles 
completely subversive of the Hindoo system, and opposed 
to that course which the Hindoos believe to be the only 
path to final happiness. Yet this practice, thtis opposed to 
t?ieir great legislator's commaivd—to the very nature of 
their religious system — and to all their best ideas of virtue ^ 
is kept alive in the metropolis and its vicinity hy acts of 
unfeeling coercion ; while in those provinces of Hindostan, 
which are held to have been the chief seat of every important 
transaction detailed in their mythology, the practice has 
nearly expired beneath the feelings of common humanity. 

When it is considered that this practice causes the death 
of a greater number of persons in one year (who, if they 
ought not to be thus burnt alive^ involve the country in all 
the guilt of innocent blood) than are publicly executed for 
their crimes throughout the whole of India in the course of 
twenty years, it cannot be wrong to call to this momentous 
subject the attention of every friend to his country. How 
would Britain feel if within herself a hundred innocent per- 
sons suffered death by some mistake of the law in the course 
of a year ! How then ought she to feel when, in her domi- 
nions in the East, seven or eight hundred innocent widows 
are every year burnt to death ? Were this inhuman per- 
secution (which, in the number of its annual victims, exceeds 
all that papal superstition ever brought to the stake in Bri- 
tain in the course of a century) directed by the supporters 
of this practice against any particular sect, or class of men, 
they would long ago have appealed to their rulers for redress, 
or they would have left the spot where they were treated 
with such cruelty. But how can mothers and sisters make 
an appeal against their own relatives ? How can a wife, a 
mother, withdraw from her own family ? They may endure 
continual agony under the apprehension of the dreadful doom 
which they know awaits them — they may feel their anguish 

British Humanity, 51 

renewed at the sight of every female neighbour they behold 
led forth to the flames — ^they may tremble at every touch of 
disease that afl^ects their husbands, and weep at every re- 
collection of their hapless children — but can they leave the 
scene of suffering ? can they make known their sorrows I 
dare they betray the anguish which preys on their vitals ? 
They lie bound as sheep for the slaughter ; — and thus they 
must xemain, suffering in silence, till British sympathy shall 
duly realize their hitherto unknown^ wnpitied misery.* 


The present partial intetference of the British Oovem* 
ment tends to promote the cblbbrity and supposed 

LEGALITY of Suttees. 

The sentiment of the poet, ** 'Tis but lame kindness that 
does its work by halves/' applies with pieculiar force to the 
regulations adopted in British India relative to the burning 
of widows. This will appear by the following extracts from 
the six volumes of Parliamentary Papers relating to Hindoo 
widows: printed July, 1821; June, 1823; June, 1824; 
July, 1825; May, 1827; and July, 1828. The "" Draft 
of IHrections to be issued by Magistrates to the Public 
DaroffahSy^ sufficiently exhibits the nature of the system 
adopted by the British Government in India, for the re* 
guJation of Suttees, appears from the following i-^^ 

^* Whereas, it appears that, during the ceremony denominated ' Sut^ 
tee,' certain acts have been occasionally committed in direct opposition 
to the rules laid down in the religious institutes of the Hindoos, by which 
that practice is authorised, and forbidden in particular cases; as, for in-^ 
stance, at several places pregnant women, and girls not yet arrived at 
their full age, have been burnt alive ; and people, after having intoxicated 
women by administering intoxicating substances, have burnt them with- 
out their assent whilst insensible ; and, inasmuch as this conduct is con^- 
trary to the shastras, and perfectly inconsistent with every principle of 
humani^ (it appearing, from the expositions of the Hindoo law delivered 
by pundits, that the burning a woman pregnant, or one having a child 
of tender years, or a girl not yet arrived at full age, is expressly for'- 
bidden in the shasters ; and also that intoxicating a woman, for the 
purpose of burning her without her assent dt against her will, is highly 
fllegal, and contrary to established usage), the police darogahs are hereby 

* Frieud of India (monthly series), Vol. ii. page 453 — 483. 

62 Indians Cries to 

accordingly, under the sanction of government, strictly enjoined to ase 
the utmost care, and make every effort to prevent the forbidden practices 
above-mentioned from taking place within the limits of their tnannahs. 
And they are further required, on all occasions, immediately on receiv- 
ing intelligence that this ceremony is likely to occur, either themselves to 
proceed to the spot, or send their mohurrir pr jemadar, accompanied by^ 
a burkundaz of the Hindoo religion, to learn of the woman who is to be 
burnt whether she has given her assent, and ascertain the other particu- 
lars above-mentioned relative to her age, &c. &c. In the event of the 
female who is going to be burnt being less than tixteen years of age, or 
there being signs of her pregnancy, or on her declaring herself in that 
situation, or should the people be preparing to burn her after having in- 
toxicated her, without her assent, or against her will (the burning a wo- 
man under any of these circumstances being in direct opposition to what 
13 enjoined in the shasters and manifestly aQ act of illegal violence), it 
will be then their duty to prevent the ceremony thus foibidden, and con- 
trary to established usage, from taking place, ^nd require those prepared 
to perform it to refrain from so doing ; also to explain to them that in 
their persisting to commit an act forbidden they would involve them* 
selves in a crime and become subject to^retribution and punishment. But, 
in the case of the woman being of full age, and no other impediment ex- 
isting, they will nevertheless remain on the spot, and not allow the most 
minute particular to escape observation. And, in the case of people 
preparing to bum a woman by compulsion, or after having made her 
insensible by administering spiritous liquors or narcotic drugs, it will be 
then their duty to exert themselves in restraining them ; and, at the same 
time, to let them know that it is not the intention of the government to 
check or forbid any act authorised by the tenets of the religion of the in- 
habitants of these dominions, or even to require that any express leave or 
permission be obtained previously to the performance of thefact of Suttee, 
and the police-officers are not to interfere or prevent any such act from 
taking place. And, lastly, it will be their duty to transmit immediately, 
for the information of the magistrate, a full detail of any measures which 
they may have adopted on this subject. And also, on every occasion, 
when, within the limits of their thaonahs, this ceremony of ' Suttee' may 
take place, the same being lawfully conducted, they will insert it in the 
monthly reports.'** 

Calcutta^ Oct, 9th, 1813. 

N. B. Instructions were subsequently communicated that a Brahmunee 
must not bum on a separate pile ; and a child under three years was not 
to be left without a written security from some one that it should be pro- 
vided for.f 

The nature and tendency of the system of legalizing the 
Suttee will appear by the following extracts from the Par- 
liamentary Papers : — 

" It appears to me," says W. Ewer, Esq., Act. Sup. of 
Police, Lower Provinces, Calcutta, Nov. 1818, " that, if 
the practice4« allowed to exist at all, the less notice we take 
of it the better. The interference of the police may, in 

♦ Par. Papers^ vol. v. p. 38, 39. f Par. Papers, vol. i. p. 41 — 43. See 
p. 137, 144. 

British Humanity. 53 

some cases, have induced, compliance with the rules of the 
shastras ; bat the official attendance of the darogah stamps 
every regular Suttee with the sanction of Government; 
and I must humbly submit that authorising a practice is not 
the way to effect its gradual abolition/'* 

" Previous to 1813 no interference on the part of the po- 
lice was authorized, and widows were sacrificed legally or il- 
legally as it might happen ; but the Hindoos were then 
aware that the Government regarded the custom with natu- 
ral horror, and would do any thing short of direct prolubition 
to discourage and gradually to abolish it. The case is now 
altered. The police-officers are ordered to interfere, for 
the purpose of ascertaining that the ceremony is performed 
in conformity with the rules of the shastras, and in that event 
to allow its completion. JTiis is granting the authority. of 
Government f^r the burning of widows ; and it can scarcely 
be a matter of astonishment that the number of the sacri^ 
Jices should be doubled when the sanction of the ruling 
power is added to the recommendation of the shastra"f 
(H. Oakley, Esq., Mag. Hooghly, Dec. 1818). 

** The Governor General in Council is reluctantly led to 
express his apprehension that the greater confidence with 
which the people perform this rite under the sanction of 
Government, as implied or avowed in the circular orders 
already in force* combined with the excitement of religious 
bigotry by the continual agitation of the question, may have 
tended to augment, rather than diminish, the frequency of 
these sacrifices.":}: (Calcutta, Dec. 1819). 

The increase here referred to was evident from the returns 
of Suttees in the several districts subordinate to the Presi- 
dency of Fort William, viz. in the year 
" 1815 378 

1816 442 

1817 707 

1818 839."§ 

Relative to the increase of Suttees the magistrates in the 
All jrpore] district remark, — ** The abstract statement of the 
number of Suttees exhibits the frequency of these abomi- 
nable sacrifices so progressively and materially increased 
since the period referred to (from 1815 to 1818), as to jus- 
tify our being confirmed in the belief, before more than 

* Par. Papers,' vol. i. p. 229. See p. 232. f P- 236. X p. 241, 242. 


54 Indians Cries to 

once expressed by this to the superior court, that any inter** 
ference» saye that of a total prohibitum under the severest 
penaltieSy will ever be productive of a mistaken spirit of 
jealousy and opposition, which will hope, by encouraging the 
prevalence of this si^>«rstitiou8 usage, to induce us to dis- 
continue altogedier our interference/^ (Allypore, March, 
1819). To tiie same effect are the following extracts : — 

** As far as my observation goes, I shall sa^ that the hu* 
mane intentions of the firamers of the Regulations regarding 
these ceremonies will not be fully answered. Some few 
widows, perhaps, escape, as falling under exceptions speci- 
fied in the Benga) pundit's reports, whilst, on the other hand, 
it can hardly be doubted but that the necessary jHresence of 
the police-officers of Government, at these immolations, 
stamps on them that character o( strict hgeUity, and seems 
to afford them that degree of countenance on the part of 
Oopemment, which must produce an evil effect/^ f (J. F. 
Petty, Esq., Mag. Southern Concan). 

** After having weighed, with every deliberation, the 
mode of carrying into effect the intention of Government, I 
became most fully satisfied tliat if the prohibitory points to 
the sacrifice were to be determined by native police-officers^ 
the practice of this awful rite would shortly multiply ma- 
nifoldrX (J. Marriott, Esq., Mag. Tannah, Sep. 1819). 

** Our Government,'' says C. Smith, Esq., Second Judge, 
Calcutta, ** by modifying the thing and issuing orders about 
it — orders which even the Government and the Sudder 
Judges themselves do not appear clearly to comprehend — ^ 
have thrown the ideas of the Hindoos upon the subject into 
a complete state of confusion. They know not what is al- 
lowed and what interdicted ; but, upon the whole, they 
have a persuasion that our government, whom they most 
erroneously suppose to be indifferent about the lives of the 
natives, are rather favourable to Suttees than otherwise. 
Tliey tedll then believe that we ahlwr the usage wlien we 
prohibit it in toto by an absolute and peremptory law. 
They have no idiea that we might not do so with the most 
perfect safety. They conceive our power- and our will to 
he commensurate '^% Aug. 1821. 

The Court of Directors of the Honourable East India 
Company, in a letter to the Governor General in Council, 
in June, 1823, express their opiDion upon the subject of 

* Par. Papers, vol. i. p. 218. f p. 254. J p. 25^, 256. § Vol. ii. p. 67 

British Humanity. 55 

partial interference :—'' To us it appears very donbtfiil (and 
we are confirmed in this doubt by respectable authority) 
whether the measures which have been ahready taken have 
not tended rather to increase than to diminish the frequency 
of the practice. Such a tendency is, at least, not unnatu- 
rally ascribed to a regulation which, prohibiting a practice 
only in certain cases, appears to sanction it in aU others. 
It is to be apprehended that, where the people have not 
previously a very enthusiastic attachment to the custom, a 
law which shall explain to them the cases in which it oaght 
not to be followed may be taken as a direction for adopting 
it in all others. It is, moreover, with much reluctance that 
We can consent to make the British Government, by a spe- 
cific permission of the Suttee, an ostensible party to the sa- 
crifice ; we are averse also to the practice of making British 
Courts expounders and vindicators of the Hindoo religion, 
when it leads to acts which, not less as legislators than as 
Christians, we abominate."* 

The opinions of the second, third, and fifth judges of 
the Nizamut Adawlut in Calcutta, are as follows : — 

** The second judge cannot subscribe to any instructions 
that have a tendency to modify , systematize, or legalize 
the usage, or that appear to regard a legal Suttee as at all 
better than an illegal one. He is convinced that, if this 
mode of issuing orders under the sanction of Government 
to regulate Suttees, is continued, the practice will take 
such deep rooty under the authority of the supreme power 
of Che country, that to eradicate it will become impossible. 
The usage will be much more likely to fall into disuse 
under a total neglect on the part of Government than 
under the present system of attention and inquiry, which 
serves but to keep the feelings of the Hindoo population 
alive upon the point, and to give a sort of interest and 
celebrity to the sacrifice, whidb is in the highest degree 
fSsivourable to its continuance and extension."f (C. Smith, 

** I conceive that we have already done a great deal 
of mischief in this way, and that instead of diminishing we 
have increased the evil."j: (J. T. Shakespear, £sq.) 

*' I confess that my own opinion inclines me to impute 
to the regulations a positively pernicious tendency, in pro- 
portion to the degree in which they have brought the 

* Par. Papers, vol. iii. p. 45 and 48. + Vol. iv. p. 149. J p. 148. 

66 India's Cries to 

sacrifices under the more immediate co^izance of the 
oflScers of Govermneot, whose presence at the ceremony, 
instead of operating as a restraint, has, I am afraid^ con- 
tributed to invest it with additional solemnity, and to confer 
on the performance of it, in the mistaken views of the 
natives, a species of authoritative sanction which it was 
not before considered to possess."* (W. B. Martin, Esq.) 

The oflSciating Registrar addresses the Chief Secretary 
of Government, W. B. Bayley, Esq. : — " From these 
minutes it will be seen by his lordship in council, that the 
majority of the court do not concur in the expediency 
of the measures suggested by the officiating chief judge, 
and that they are of opinion it would be preferable to 
enact a regulation for the future prohibition of Suttees 
thrwcghout the country.f'—Vori William, July 23, 1824. 
It is deeply to be regretted that such a regulation has not 
been enacted. 

J. H. Harington, while officiating as chief judge of the 
Nizamut Adawlut in 1825, proposed a circular letter to the 
courts of circuit, containing a recommendation of measures 
for insuring a timely notice to the police of any intended 
Suttee. This circular was opposed by three of the judges 
of the court, and the officiating chief judge, as incon- 
sistent with the object of Government, that of refraining 
from measures that would constructively legalize this abo- 
minable practice. In this opinion the supreme Govern- 
ment coincided, observing, — ** The governor-general in 
council is duly sensible of the humane motives by which 
Mr. Harington is actuated in urging the points noticed in 
his minute, but being of opinion that the measure proposed 
for requiring the zemindars, and others, to give previous 
information of all cases of Suttee, though varying in form, 
would be substantially the same as those which government 
has before [declined to adopt, and that they would in fact 
be open to nearly all the same objections, he concurs with 
the majority of the court in thinking it inexpedient to 
circulate the orders proposed by the officiating judge." :{: 

" It can hardly be doubted but that the printed work 
regarding Suttees has given the ceremony, in the eyes 
of the natives, a stamp of legality which in our provinces 
it never before possessed, and it may therefore be qnes- 

* Par. Papers, vol. iv. p. 149. ' f Vol. iv. p. 85. 
t Vol. V. p. 51. Asi. Journ. Sept. 1827. 

British Humanity. S7 

tioned whether, upon the whole, more harm than good 
may not have followed its publication."* (Bombay, Jud. 
Cons. June 1820.) 

'* This permission (says a correspondent in the Bombay 
Courier), I found that the people most ignorantly and per- 
versely abused ; and at every stage of my argument with 
them' an appeal was made to the order of government ^ as 
a vindication of their conduct There can be no doubt 
of the benevolent intention of government in issuing such 
an order, and as little of its beneficial influence in many 
instances, as it prevents the employment of force; but 
the people construe it into a direct approval of the dread-* 
ful act ; and for a long time * the order of government 
seemed to form a triumphant answer to all my arguments." 
And again: — " The only answer they attempted to give 
was, * ft is the custom, and we have got the government 
order for so doing.' f" Oct. 1824. 

The Parliamentary Papers on the immolation of Hindoo 
widows, ordered to be printed May 1827, contain addi- 
tional confirmation of these sentiments. 

£. L. Warner, Esq., Act. Mag. 24 Pergiinnahs, states, 
that he '* finds it difficult to account for the increase of 
the Sutttees, unless it may be attributed to the orders of 
Government; for the attendance of the police officers 
gives a legal sanction to the practice ^ and, by so doing, 
enhances the reputation of the family of the person who 
devotes herself." |. 

** It seems undeniable that 'in tolerating the practice, 
under any regulations and restrictions whatsoever j you 
tolerate what you have virtually forbidden in those regula- 
tions, and afford the natives ground for concluding that the 
practice of Suttee was to be expected from their opera- 
ration." § (Bombay Regulations.) 

S. Marriott, Esq., magistrate in the Northern Concan* 
says, — ** It was the prevalent opinion among the natives, 
that this sacrifice would not be tolerated by the British 
Government; under these circumstances, to have given 
instructions to my people would at once have informed 
the community that the sacrifice of the Suttee is allowed 
by the British Government, and that therefore it might 
have been performed with impunity. It would have opened 

♦ Par. Papers, vol. iv. p. 156. f 212, 213. See the account, 

Asi. Journal, Aug. 1825, p. 145—148. 
I Par. Papers, vol. v. p. 2. § P- 4' 

58 India $ Cries to 

a flouree of emolumeat to sach native officers as are corrupt 
enough to sell their authority at the expense of a human 
yictim. With the confidence which would have been thus 
giren to its performance, and with the inducements which 
I have mentioned to the police officers to encourage the 
practice, / am certain the number of victims would hasfe 
greatly increased!*^ The conduct of this magistrate in 
not giving publicity to the regulations, but keeping them 
merehr for his own direction, was approved by the Hon. 
E. Nepean> governor of Bombay : — *' It appears to me 
that he exercised a sound judgment, in refraining to place 
the power to which he alludes in the hands of his native 
establishment, which, if done, would, in my opinion, have 
been attended with the eonsequ^ices he anticipated." 
Oct. 1819. — ^F. Warden, Esq., member of council, con- 
curred in this opinion : — ^' I also think that the collector 
has exercised a sound judgment in not promulgating the 
circular orders regarding the performance of Suttee." 
A. Bell, Esq., ano£er member, was of the same opinion ; 
but G. L. Prendergast, Esq., the other member, adopted 
the contrary, and appears very strenuous for the permission 
of this cruel rite, so replete with every evil predominating 
in the Hindoo character."* 

J. H. Harington, Esq., offidating chief judge in Cal- 
cutta, in a minute upon the Suttee Reports, dated Feb. 4, 
1825, candidly acknowledges that the present regulations 
relative to Suttees make them legal. * It seems now to 
be too late to examine the general question adverted to by 
the Hon. Court, whether a prohibition of the practice, in 
certain cases only, may not appear to give it public sanction 
in others; in truth such sanction is virtually and effec- 
tually given by the circular orders in force ^ for these alone 
exempt the parties concerned in the performance of even 
a voluntary immolation from the operation of the regula* 
tion already noticed."t 

Another judge in Calcutta, C.T. Sealy, Esq., under date 
Jan. 1825, declares : ** I have always been of opinion that 
we increased the number of Suttees by sanctioning 

The governor of Bombay, the Hon. M. Elphinstone, in 
a minute, dated June, 1825, relative to the presence of a 
magistrate at a Suttee, remarks : — " In general such at- 

♦ Par. Papers, vol. i. p. 256. 260, 261. t Vol. v. p. 46. 
I Vol. V. p. 50. See 135. 

British Humanity. SO 

tendance in inexpedient, as tending to give more dignity to 
the ceremony and to render the merit of the safferer more 

F. Warden, Esq., member of council, Bombay, in a 
minute at the same time, states : — *' We ought either to 
issue a positive prohibition, or abstain altogether from 
manifesting the slightest anxiety on the subject: the at- 
tendance of European (imctionaries, where the efforts are 
unavailing to prevent the ceremony, appears rather cid- 
culated to inspire the Suttee with a greater degree of reso- 
lation, in affording Europeans n proof of the firmness with 
which the victim seeks and endures the sacrifice. Fanati- 
cism can be successfully combated only by neglect and 
indifference. Any intermediate measure b^weea a posi- 
tive prohibition and perfect neglect and indifference ap- 
pears to me to be most impolitic.'*+ 

The speech of J. Poynder, Esq., on human sacrifices in 
India, at the court of East India proprietors, March, 1827, 
contains some important confirmation of the statements 
contained in this section. — This gentleman gives his own 
opinion of the nature of the present regulations relative to 
Suttees : — " It was impossible that any government could 
promise itself that the correction of the abuses of any g^ven 
^stem could of itself produce the abolition of the system. 
It is to be greatly deplored that the inevitable consequences 
of permitting certain sacrifices as legal went mrtualkf to 
sanction and set the broad seal of Gtovemment upon alt 
that was not prohibited. Nine instances out of 654 (in 
1821), which appear to have been saved by the retraction 
of the vow, or by the police, afford matter of congratulation 
to the authorities ; but it does not seem to have been con* 
sidered that probably the greater number of those who 
perished are to be referred to the sanction afforded by the 
regulations to the performance of the rite.^^f 

The Rev. T. Thomason, chaplain in Calcutta, in a letter 
dated Feb. 1827, speaking of the Bengal Government 
requiring that the Suttee should be performed agreeably to 
certain regulations, observes, — "The measure actually 
legalized it by British authority, to the great joy and 
benefit of the Brahmuns, securing to them and even in^* 
creasing tfi^ir fees by multiplying the formalities. Every 

* Par. Papers, vol. v. p. 144. f p. 149. Sec 353. 

I Poynder*s Speech (Hatchard), p.- 32. 99. 

GO India's Cries to 

eyil might have been anticipated from this unwise act. 
This regulation legalized the Suttees. The Government 
became by it, without intending it, particeps criminis. It 
pronounced that to be legal (under certain circumstances) 
which ought never, under any circumstances, to be deemed 
legal. If the Government interfere at all, their inter- 
ference should be to abolish, not to limit or sanction such 
an abomination. This I very strenuously maintained in 
argument with some persons officially concerned in the 
regulation. The question has often been asked, whether 
this regulation did in fact increase or diminish the number 
of Suttees. On a deliberate review of the whole case, 
I rest in the conviction that the number fias been increased 
rather than diminished'** 

A chaplain of the Hon. Company, in a letter dated 
Calcutta, Dec. 1820, addressed to a member of parliament, 
states to the same effect : — ** In this respect the wisdom of 
our Government appears to the great body of judicious 
people amongst us to be rather timidity ^ or even guilty 
apathy. It is notorious that these abominable sacrifices 
might be stopped unthout exciting the least opposition, 
and even with the general approbation of the natives. Yet 
we have, in an evil fiour, sanctioned them, in a manner, 
by pronouncing them legal if performed under certain 

W. Sherar, Esq., late accomptant-general in Bengal, in 
a letter written March, 1827, gives his unqualified dis- 
approbation of the present system : — '* I consider the evil 
of the restrictive regulation of 1812, respecting Suttees, so 
great and lamentcLble as to require the earliest possible 
redress. As things now stand, all the Suttees in Bengal 
are sanctioned by the presence and acquiescence of the 
police officers of the British Government! This evil, to 
the disgrace of our Government, has now been going on 
for fifteen years, and surely requires to be stopped without 
further delay."J 

The Eclectic Review of Bishop Heber's Journal in 
India contains the following reference to the subject of 
this section : — '' The increased frequency of these infernal 
sacrifices in Bengal is clearly chargeable upon the Calcutta 
Government, whose mischievous half measures have legalized 
the practice * to the great joy and benefit of the Brahmuns, 

* Poynder's Speech, p. 66—69. f P« 68. J p. 70. 

British Humanity. 61 

securing to them and even incre^ing their fees by molti- 
plying the formalities.' And here we have (vol. i. p. 267) 
tbe testimony of the bishop, that, for its professed object, 
the securing of the publicity of Suttees, that measure has 
proved both abortive and delusive ; — so much so as to bring 
into question the intention of its framers. For any good 
purpose it has been absolutely insufficient and useless. Its 
only operation has been to systematize, legalize, and extend 
the practice ; to make it more popular and more respect- 
able, and to increase indefinitely the difficulty of abolishing 
it at any future period." (May, 1828.) 

The Asiatic Journal for October, 1827, in a brief notice 
of the pamphlet, candidly acknowledges : — ** This writer, 
in common with many of the best authorities in Jndia, 
thinks that partial interference increases the evil ; he has 
devoted a division of his work to show that ' the present 
partial interference of the British Government promotes 
the increase, celebrity, and supposed hgality of the Suttee.^ 
Mr. Poynder is also of opinion, • that the prohibitory regula- 
tions have been practicaJly only productive of evil, and that 
nothing short of abolition will suffice.' In this opinion we 
are disposed to concur: the question then is, whether we 
ought immediately to abolish me practice or to wait till the 
slow influence of education and more correct habits of 
thinking, which cannot be denied to be now gaining ground 
in India, extinguish a custom not kept alive by perse- 
cuting and irritating measures.' " 

** If such practices," says R. Jackson, Esq., " were con- 
tinued longer under the authority of the Company, there 
was not a man in the court who did not become accessary 
to the crime of murder ! He that refrained from doing 
all in his power to prevent it, on his head be the guilt 
of the sanction he gave.*'* 

To giye but one more extract taken from the Par. Papers of 
the session of 1828, contained in a letter of the Hon. Court 
of Directors to the Governor of Bombay :— " A minute in- 
terference in the details of Suttee, such as it is the purpose 
of the new rules to assume, is likewise liable to the obvious 
objection of virtually extending the sanction of the British 
Government to the performanc e of the rite when con- 
ducted in the prescribed form. We are aware, however, 
that as long as the burning of widows shall be tolerated 

* Speech of R. Jackson, Esq. (Parbury), relative to Suttees, p. 9. 

63 India^i Cries to 

under some circttmstauces and prohibited in others^ inter- 
ference of some kind or other cannot be altogether avoided. 
With the exception to which we have already adverted, 
we do not feel that we should be justified in prohibiting 
the adoption of the rule as an experiment for checking the 
practice of Suttee, as every measure tending to the infre- 
quency of the custom must necessarily afford increased 
facilities towards its ultimate suppression."* 

From these observations, in which most of the magis- 
trates concur, it is presumed that partial interference wilii 
the burning of Hindoo widows has not been attended with 
tlie desired end — ^the discountenance and decrease of the 
practice. May Britain ** awake to righteousness," nor 
fear to spread her shield over the head of the deluded and 
oppressed widows daily appointed to death by this um-* 
natural and suicide custom, and ^* the blessing of diose 
who were ready to perish will come upon her, and she will 
cause the widow's deart to sing for joy." 


Authorities to confirm the propriety y safety yJeuAlity^ and 
success of efforts for the suppression ^Suttees. 

The volumes of parliamentary papers, relating to the 
burning of Hindoo widows, printed by order of the Hon. 
House of Commons, from 1821 to 1828, contain numerous 
authorities for the immediate suppression of this dreadful 
rite. The following appear in an investigation of these 
valuable documents : — 

" From what I have heard of several very respectable 
Brahmuns, I sun almost satisfied that the exercise of a very 
trifling degree of authority would put a stop to this per- 
version of reason and humanity. It appears that tibe late 
Peishtva frequently personally exerted himself to dissuade 
women from becoming Suttees ; and that he always took 
upon himself the charee of supporting those who attended 
to this advice. I shall be glad to use my influence at this 
place, in a similar manner, and have little doubt of the 

* Par. Papers, vol. vi. p. 28. 

Bri(i$h Humanity. 63 

suceess ef my interposition in the majority of cases that 
may occur, when 1 have it in my power to assure the 
wom.en of the means of subsistence.''* (H. Pottinger, 
Esq., collector, addressed to the Hon. M. Elphinstone, 
Governor of Bombay, Oct. 1818.) 

'' The letter from the Magistrate of Chinsurah,'' says 
E. Watson, Esq., Aiypore, *' deserves the serious attention 
of the Nizamut Adawlut and the Government. It appears 
that this abhorrent, and often utterly illegal practice, was 
forbidden by the foreign governments of those settlements ; 
and that the prohibition was obeyed without a murmur. So 
little da the people appear to have interested themselves in 
the affair, that we find, from Mr. Forbes* letter, that the 
mere publication of an order from himself, prohibiting the 
practice, effectually prevented it, and that np single instance 
of a woman burning herself has occurred since.''t The 
Court of Nizamut Adawlut in June, 1817, endeavoured 
to overturn Mr. Watson's reasoning, as far as applied to 
the analogy of the cases cited, but it appears without suc- 
cess. They express in concurrence with him that " There 
is a strong presumption that little resistance would be op- 
posed to the suppression of a practice so repugnant to the 
common feelings of humanity, if from experience of con- 
tinued abuses on the investigation or performance of female 
sacrifices, as now tolerated, it should at any time be deemed 
necessary to enact a Regulation, prohibiting the priesthood 
and kindred of the deceased, as well as all others from as- 
sisting in such sacrifices."! *' I feel disposed," says the 
late J. U. Harington, Esq., May, 1822, '' to concur with 
Mr. Forbes and the local judicial ofScers consulted by him, 
on the facility and safety with which a practice so repugnant 
to humanity may be suppressed by law — if it should be 
deemed indispensably necessary •"% Surely it is necessary 
to endeaYOur to rescue six or seven hundred deluded women 
from a most horrid death. How many Europeans in India 
imbibe, imperceptibly, a degree of the apathy of the Hin- 

** If the British, in imitation of the Mogul Government, 
were to lay an immediate and positive inhibition upon it, 
and would declare the parties aiding in the ceremony in- 
dictable for murder, and proceed against them accordingly, 
it must totally die away ; but if tolerated, under whatever 

♦ Par Papers, Vol. i. p. 65. f P- ^f ^^O. t P- 107. Vol. iv. p. 20. 

64 India's Cries to 

restrictions, I do not hesitate to pronounce that it will, in a 
short time, become nearly as prevalent as it now is in Ben- 
gal/'* (W. Wright, Esq., Mag. Furruckabad, April, 1819.) 

W. Ewer, Esq., Act. Superintendent of Police, Lower 
Provinces, Nov. 1818, acknowledges, " I have offered the 
grounds of my opinion that the barbarous custom of Suttee 
may be prohibited without exciting any serious or general 
dissatisfaction among our Hindoo subjects."f 

** I do not hesitate in offering my opinion," says II. 
Oakley, Esq., Mag. of Hooghley, Dec. 1818. "that a law 
for its abolition would be objected to only by the heirs, who 
derive worldly profit from the custom, — by Brahmuns, who 
partly exist by it, — ^and by those whose depraved nature 
leads them to look on a sacrifice as a highly entertaining 
show ; at any rate the sanction of Government should be 
withdrawn without delay. The adoption of this measure 
will most likely be followed by a decrease in the number of 
Suttees, and tne Magistrate's feelings will not be outraged^ 
as they frequently are at present^ by compelling him to so 
barbarous a customJ'X 

" The interference of Government is well understood to 
be the Christian wish of humanity. The Rajah of this place 
is a Moosulman ; and the Hindoos seem generally willing 
to embrace the excuse of the will of the reigning power to 
evade the Suttee, believed of their little read and less un- 
derstood shastra."§ (R. Morrieson, Esq , Sory Burthom, 
Dec. 1818.) 

C. Chapman, Esq., Magistrate in Jessore, under date Dec. 
1818, thus addresses the Acting Superintendent of Police, 
Lower Provinces, Calcutta : — " Any law abolishing the 
Suttee would be attended with no other effect than it 
should have under every good system of Government — the 
immediate and due observance of its enactments. I 
would most willingly undertake to promulgate any orders 
regarding its abolition, throughout the district under my 
charge^ without dread of any ill consequences arising from 
the interference of Government J\ 

6. Forbes, Esq., first Judge of the Calcutta Court of 
Circuit, thus writes to the Registrar of the Nizamut Adaw- 
lut, Aug. 1810 : — ** I take this opportunity to express my 
concurrence in the opinion which I found to prevail wilh 

* Par. Papers, Vol. i. p. 212. f P- 229. See p. 233. t P- ^37. 
$p. 338. Seep. 239. jj p. 241. 

British Humanity, 65 

the judicial Officers at the several stations^ with whom I 
conversed on the subject, that the practice of Hindoo 
women burning themselves on the funeral pile of their 
deceased husbands, if prohibited by 6ovemment» might be 
effectually suppressed without apprehension of any serious 
obstacles. I am happy in being able to adduce an instance 
of effectual interference in the suppression of this barbarous 
custom under British authority. In the territory of Delhi, the 
late Resident, Mr. Metcalfe, never (when apprized of the xn^ 
tentiou) permitted the burning of a widow to takeplacCf and 
wa^ prepared to prevent the practice^ whenever necessary y 
by forcible interference^ but which wa^ requisite ONLY 
ON ONE OCCASION that came under his immediate ob- 
servation, I have been induced to mention the instance 
of successful interference by the Resident of Delhi, as af- 
fording an example which I believe nearly every magistrate 
in the country would, if authorised, be most happy to follow ; 
and in order to show that there appears no insurmountable 
obstacle to a measure, with regard to the existency of 
which, if shown to be practicable, there can be but one sen- 

" I am convinced," says F. Warden, Esq., Member of 
Council in Bombay, ** of the practicability of abolishing 
not only this^ but also every other sanguinary practice of 
the Hindoos^ and without endangering either the popularity 
or the security of our supremacy ."f 

C. H. Higginson, Esq., Judge at Trichinopoly, writes in 
Feb. 1820 : — " If I were required to give my opinion as to the 
best means of putting a stop to the Suttee in future, I 
should say, that the collector and ma^strate ought to be 
authorised to issue a Proclamation prohibiting altogether a 
custom so unnatural, which, though permitted, does not by 
any means appear to be insisted upon by the shastras. I 
would authorise the magistrate to declare, by Proclamation, 
any person or persons assisting in the self-immolation of a 
widow, liable to be brought to trial as an accessary in homi- 
cide ; and would issue strict orders to all heads of villages 
and officers of police, to put an immediate stop to any at- 
tempt at preparation for an " anugamanum" (Suttee). In 
the present times the good sense and humane feelings of 
the Brahmuns, as well as of the greater proportion of the 
Hindoo inhabitants, would point out to them the benevolent 

» Par. Papers, vol. i. p. 243. \ p. 261. See vol. ii. p. 85. 

66 India's Cries to 

motive of Goyemment, in prohibiting a practice which has 
originated in ignorance and infatuation, and which must be 
reflected upon with abhorrence by every mind capable of 
distinguishing good from evil."* 

The third volume of Parliamentary Papers, printed 
June, 1824, contains little besides a detail of the number, 
names, castes. Sec, of Suttees in 1821. The following ex- 
pression of public opinion, favourable to the abolition of 
the burning of widows, appears important : — 

** As far as every information I can obtain, this revolting 
ceremony could be altogether prevented, by a short pro* 
hibitory enactment of the legislature/'f (^* C* Plowden, 
Esq., Barripore, June, 1822, to C. U. Hopper, Esq., Mag. 
of the 24 Pergunnahs, Calcutta.) 

J. H. Harington, Esq., officiating Chief Judge in Calcut- 
ta, in a minate relative to the Suttee, of considerable length 
and interest, written June, 1823, and which was forwarded 
to the Court of Directors by the Governor General, Dec. 
1824, declares:—'*! am desirous of putting upon record 
some considerations which appear to merit attention in any 
future deliberation upon this important question, and which, 
I acknowledge, have produced in my own mind a strong 
belief, if not a full conviction, that whenever it may be 
judged expedient to suppress this barbarous practice by 
legal prohibition, instead of restricting it to what is sanc- 
tioned by the shastra, as at present, it will not be found 
tmpr€u:ticablef nor^ as far as I can judgcy attended tmth 
any political danger. On a deliberate view of all those 
instances in which the laws, customs, and prejudices of the 
Hindoos, when found to be at variance with the principles 
of justice and good society, have been necessarily superseded 
and abrogated by the laws and regulations of the British 
Government,:]: and the whole of which supercession has 

* Vol. ii. p. 101. t Vol. iii. p. 4. See p. 51. 
X Such as the execution of the Brahmuos ; suppressing the sacrifice of 
children at Saugur ; preventing women and children, in the provinces of 
Benares, from burning in a koorhy or circular inclosure, on the approach^ 
of a public officer to serve any judicial process on Brahmuns ; abolish- 
ing Dhuma; In&nticide among the Rajkooraars; burying widows alive ; 
cruel ordeals, &c. The late Bishop Heber thus describes the custom of 
Dhuma. *' How little a female death is cared for may appear by a cir- 
cumstance which occurred a short time ago at a small distance from 
Ghazeepore. In consequence of a dispute which had taken place between 
two small freeholders about some land, one of the contending parties, an 
old man of seventy and upwards, brought his wife of the same age to the 
field, forced her, with the assistance of their children and relations, into 

British Humanity. 67 

been quietly submitted to, as olmously and excltmvely ori- 
ginating in motives of equity and humariity^ unconnected 
with any degree of religious intolerance^ we may, I thinks 
safely conclude that a similar result will attend the enactment 
of a legislative provision to prevent the yearly sacrifice of 
several hundreds of deluded unoffending females, bom and 
Uving under the protection of the British Govenment/* This 
document thus closes. Referring to certain probable excesses 
in the perpetration of Suttees, it is added, " In such a state 
of things I could not hesitate to adopt the opinion expressed 
by the second Judge of the Court of the Nizamut Adawlut, 
that the toleration of the practice of Suttees is a reproach 
to our Government ; and even now I am disposed to agree 
with him, ^ that the entire and immediate abolition of it 
would be attended tmth no sort of danger,* "* 

Among the papers forwarded to the Hon. Court of Di- 
rectors is one containing, says Mr. Harington, " An extract 
from a well-written paper, * On female Immolation/ pub- 
lished in the valuable periodical work entitled * The Friend 
of India/ which the late Sir Henry Blossett and myself 
read on our voyage to India, and which appeared to both 
of us a powerful and convincing statement of the real facts 
and circomstanceg of the case/'f A few paragraphs only 
are given. 

''We are confident that the continuance of the practice 
stands on the doctrine of expediency alone. This is its 
only prop ; of which could it once be deprived it would fall 
beneath the weight of justice imd humanity. It cannot 
therefore be improper to weigh the question of expediency, 
and to collect into one focus all the light which can be ob- 
tained on the subject from our preceding transactions in 

a little straw hut, built for the purpose, and burued her and the hut to- 
gether : in order that her death might bring a curse on the soil and her 
spirit haunt it after death, so that his successful antagonist might never 
derive any advantage from it. On some horror and surprise being ex- 
pressed by the gentleman who told me the case, one of the ofBcers of 
nis court, (the same indeed who had reported it to him, not as a horrible 
Occurrence, but as a proof how spiteful the parties had been against 
each other), said very coolly : " Wh/ notf-^she was a very old woman, — 
what taetoasshel The old murderer was in prison ; but my friend said 
he had no doubt that his interference in such case, between man and wife, 
was regarded as singularly vexatious and oppressive/'— See Asiatic 
Researches, vol. i. p. 268—9. Vol. iv. p. 330. Evan. Mag. 1816. p. 

♦ Par, Papers, t<A. iv. p. 8—18. f p. 13. 

F 2 

68 Indices Cries to 

India. And if it should appear that we have not been ar- 
rested in our career of justice by the prejudices of the 
natives, that on the contrary the Hindoos have already gone 
hand in hand with us, without discovering any hostility to 
our authority ; there can be no reason to apprehend that, 
in the abolition of female immolation, we sheJl experience 
the least interruption. To prove this we will adduce three 
examples : — 

'* In the province of Guzerat the deluded parents had 
been for a long series of years in the habit of destroying 
their female in&nts as soon as they were bom. Whether 
the custom was sanctioned by the shastras or not is irrele- 
vant ; it was enough that it was deeply rooted in the prac- 
tice and prejudices of the natives. These unnatural murders 
at length attracted the attention of Government, and they 
were abolished by an order of the supreme power. ^ 

** From time immemorial it was the custom of mothers to 
sacrifice their children to the Ganges at the annual festival 
held at Gunga Saugur. The British Government* regarded 
the practice with those feelings of horror which such unna- 
tural murders are calculated to inspire; as persuasion would 
have been unavailing with those who had parted with every 
parental feeling, the practice was prohibited by a public 
regulation^ and the prohibition enforced by public au- 
thority. This order was promulgated in the presence of 
thousands assembled at a public festival, in the highest ex« 
citement of superstitious frenzy. What was the conse- 
quence ? Not one instance of resistance was attempted 
by that immense crowd! The mothers who had brought 
their children to this funeral sacrifice were constrained to 
carry them back unhurt ; and many, perhaps, to whom the 
heinousness of the crime had never appeared, were, by this 
interposition, awakened to a sense of its enormity. 

'' The Hindoo laws absolutely prohibit the execution of 
a Brahmun; they forbid the Magistrate even to imagine 
evil against him. Thus fenced by the laws, and extolled by 
their sacred books, they are still more powerfully guarded 
by the respect and veneration of the people. When our 
Government commenced in the East, we were reduced to 
the most serious dilemma. To have inflicted punishment 
on Brahmuns would have been to violate the most awful 
sanctions of Hindoo law, and the^dearest prejudices of the 

\ See << Infanticide in India,'' Book ii. 

British Humanity, 69 

people; to have exeibpted them from panishment would 
have been to deliver over the coantry to desolation, ravage, 
and murder. The reign of equity which we were about to 
introduce was stopped at the threshold; the destiny of 
millions hung in suspense. How did we act on this oc- 
casion? Did we lay the laws of justice at the feet of the 
sacred tribe ? Did we abrogate our code of jurisprudence, 
and adopt the Vedas for our guide ? Did we deprive the 
country of our protection, because the Hindoo shastras for- 
bid the punishment of the aggressors, if they happen to be 
Brahmuns ? We boldly stepped forward in vindication of 
the rights of society ; and in spite of a formidable phalanx 
of Hindoo jnris-coosults, and of the strongest prejudices, 
caused these delinquents to pay the forfeit of their lives to 
the laws of offended justice. Have the natives complained 
of this outrage on the sanctity of their priesthood, or con- 
sidered it as an infringement of our toleration ? Have they, 
in any one instance, petitioned us to disregard their welfare 
and exempt their spiritual guides from death ? or have they 
not on the contrary tacitly sanctioned every act of punish- 
ment, and applauded the inflexible tenor of our proceed- 

The opinion of J. H. Harington, Esq., officiating chief 
Judge in the Nizamut Adawlut, Calcutta, on the expediency 
of abolishing the Suttee, has been given. The second 
Judge, C. Smith, Esq., declares : — " The practice of Suttee 
OUGHT TO B£ ABOLISHED, and it may be abolished with 
PBRPECT SAFETY." The third Judge, J. T. Shakespear, 
Esq., likewise states :— " I am prepared to concur in a re- 
commendation to Government, that a regulation be pro- 
mulgated prohibiting Suttees throughout the country." The 
fifth Judge, W. B. Martin, Esq., at the same time stated : — 
*' The toleration of the practice by our Government, and 
its disposition to interfere no further than was necessary to 
guard it from abuse, has been misconstrued into a tacit re- 
cognition of the principle of a usage, the legality of 
which, within certain limits, it has formally acknowledged." 
The minute of the officiating Judge, J. Ahmuty, Esq., is as 
follows : — •' I feel satisfied that it would be far preferable 
to enact a regulation prohibiting the practice of Suttees at 
onccy and rendering it punishable by laWy than having re- 
course to any partial or indirect means to repress it gra- 

* Par. Papers, vol. iv. p. 22—24. 

70 India's Cries to 

dually, if even such a result could be reasonably expected to 

The Magistrate of Poena, under the Bombay Presidency 
(Captain H. D. Robertson), thus states the nature of the 
popular feeling relative to the Suttees:— "The feeling, I 
might almost say, is general to stop them ; it was hinted to 
me, through various respectable channels, that although a 
show of discontent would be exhibited, an order of Govern- 
ment to prevent their continuance would be a palatable 

Another Magistrate in Bombay (J. Barnard, Esq.) ob- 
serves : — " The circumstances under which Suttees prevail, 
the classes interested therein, the number of instances, and 
the conduct of the community in their commamcations 
both with the Magistrate and with each other, on such oc- 
casions, as well as the impressions generally entertained by 
those not concerned, convince me that there; are'^few cases 
in which evil would ensue from prohibition amd coercive 

" All religions," says Colonel Dow, in his History of 
Hindostan, '* must be tolerated in Bengal, except the 
practice of some inhwman customs which the Mahomedans 
have already^ in a great mea^sure^ destroyed. There are 
particular usages, established by time into a law, which 
our humanity must destroy. Let no women burn them- 
selves with their husbands^ no dying person be exposed hy 
his friends. To leave the natives entirely to their own 
laws would be to consign them to anarchy and confnsion."§ 
Vol. iii. p. 128, 143. 

The Commentaries of Bras de Albuquerque, the son of 
the Great Albuquerque^ one of those extraordinary men 
who, nearly three hundred years ago, raised to the highest 
pitch of glory the Portuguese name in India, contains the 
following passage : — '* When Alf. de Albuquerque took 
the kingdom of Goa he would not permit that any woman 
thenceforward should burn herself; and, although to change 
their custom is equal to death, nevertheless they rejoiced 
in life, and said great good of him, because he commanded 
that they should not burn themselves. Long after his 
death, when a Moor or Hindoo had received wrong and 

* Par. Papers, vol. iv. p. 148, 149, 153. f p. 167. J p. 209. ' 
§ " Collection of Facts and Opinions relative to the Burning of Hindoo 
Widows," by Dr. Johns, p. 89. 

British Humanity. 71 

Could obtain no redress firom the Govemor, the aggrieved 
person would go to Goa, to Albuquerque's tomb, and make 
an offering of oil at the lamp which burned before it, and 
call upon him for justice."^ Wilberforce's Speech^ ISIS, 
Svo. p. 93, 94. 

The Rev. T. S. Grimshawe, in his valuable pamphlet, 
** An earnest Appeal to British Humanity in behalf of 
Hindoo Widows" (1825, Hatchard), refers to the suppres- 
sion of Suttees by other powers : — *' The Mogul Govern- 
ment has uniformly discountenanced the practice of burning 
widows alive ; and the extent of the benefits thus conferred 
may be estimated by the remarkable fact that in no part of 
Uindostan is the rite less knotim than under this sway ; 
and in none is it more common than in that which is the 
centre of British power ^ and ascendency ! This example 
was humanely followed by the Portuguese. The Dutch, 
the Danish, and the French Governments, uniformly re- 
fused to sanction the custom. Why is the name of Britain 
alone excluded from this honourable list of competitors ? 
Is it that policy and duty in our case are irreconcilable, 
however blended in that of others ? The conviction is most 
humiliating that the British Government is the only Eu- 
ropean power in India that tolerates the practice of bum- 
ing tcidows alive on the funeral pile ! /" pp. 17, lo. 

In the Par. Papers on the Suttees, printed in 1827, are 
some proposed paragraphs for Bengal in the judicial de- 
partment (pp. 2 — 31), containing a very lucid and powerful 
representation of the facility of abolishing Suttees. This 
important document was, on March 19, 1824, referred to 
the consideration of the Committee of Correspondence, but 
it does not appear, from the Papers now published, that it 
has been approved and sent to India. This copious and 
interesting document contains a comprehensive statement 
of the facts and correspondence contained in the Papers 
on Suttees, printed by the Honourable House of Com- 
mons. Its general publicity in Britain, and the adoption 
of its principles in India, are very desirable. The follow- 
ing recapitulation gives a distinct and connected view of 
its contents, and of the position established by it : — 

1. " That the practice of Suttee is not founded in Hindoo law, and 
only recommended, but not enjoined in the shastras. 

* " Collection of Facts and Opinions relative to the Burning of 
Hindoo Widows,'^ by Dr. Johns, p. 103, 104. 

72 India's Cries to 

2. ** That every other inhuman Hindoo practice has been prohibited 
under severe penalties under your Government, not only without resist- 
ance, but apparently without exciting disapprobation; although those 
practices had their support in what is certainly the main support of the 
practice of Suttee, namely, superstitious custom and prejudice. 

3. " That your Government having contravened a fundamental prin- 
ciple of Hindoo law, held sacred by all Hindoos, by abolishing the 
impunity of Brahmuns, and making them amenable to the British laws, 
without its having been followed by any evil consequence, there can be 
no serious grounds for apprehending that prohibiting a practice which 
M not founded in Hindoo lawy nor recognized hy Hindoos %n general, and 
prevailing only among certain tribes or castes of' Hindoos, few in number 
compared with the mass of ths population, .and the only object of which 
prohibition would be uie protection of the wives and daughters of 
Hindoos from perishing in flames, would produce any serious opposi- 
tion to British rule, or even a permanent dissatisfaction. 

4. ** That there is a great and acknowledged diversity of sentiment 
among the Hindoos on the subject of Suttees ; that the practice chiefly, 
if not exclusively, prevails among the lowest and most ignorant, and 
is discountenanced by the upper and educated classes; that even in 
Bengal, though prevalent in the vicinity of Calcutta, the practice is far 
from general, and in the extensive territories on the Madras side of 
India, reaching from Cape Comorin to Orissa, it is by no means general. 
That in some districts it is unknown, and in others of rare occurrence; 
and that in the territories subject to the Bombay Government the preva- 
lence of it is far from being general ; in some of its districts, particularly 
in Guzerat, scarcely known; and that in the Concan, comprising the 
Mahratta countries conquered from the Peishwa, in which it was very 
prevalent, the people, on becoming subject to the British rule, vohm- 
tarify discxmtinued the practice, in consequence of understanding that it 
was repugnant to the liritish laws, a fact which proves at least that in 
their attachment to the practice enthusiasm had no share, and obvi- 
ously points to the conclusion, that a public declaration confirming 
that impression, and announcing the punishment of death in whomso- 
ever should assist at any of those ceremonies^ would have been implicitly 
and quietly acquiesced iu. 

5. " That the practice was not permitted by the Foreign States when 
they had power and territory in India. 

6. *' And which we think conclusive of the practicability of abolish- 
ing the practice, or at least of the safety with which it might be pro- 
hibited, that in many instances it has been prevented from taking place 
without exciting even a murmur, by either direct interference on the 
part of the local authority, by refusal of permission, or by a procedure 
similar to that which was adopted by the criminal Judge of the Zillah 
of Masalipatam.* 

" The officers who acted in these instances of prevention, it was well 
known, acted in virtue of the authority they held under Government. 
It might be considered that, in each instance, an experiment was made 
as to the consequence of a prevention, and as not one of them appears 
to have been resisted, or even to have excited any feelings of dissatisfac- 

* Threatening to commit as accomplices in the murder all persons 
who should any way assist to destroy the woman. 

British Humanity. 73 

tion, we find it difficult to imagine that a general ffrohibition hy the 
Government itself would be less efficacious^ or jproduce any serious opposition 
or discontent. The very utmost vie should apprehend from it would be 
temporary clamour or agitation among the lowest jand most ignorant of 
the people in insulated districts, where the practice prevails, and where 
venal Brahmuns may have influence, but would be discountenanced and 
reprobated by the higher and more educated classes of the community. 

7. <' And lastly, is the equally satisfactory and important fact, that a 
gpreatrnumber of the most able and experienced servants of the Company, 
employed under the immediate authority of your Government, and the 
Presidencies of Fort St. George and Bombay, in the stations which 
afford the best means of forming a correct judgment on the subject, in- 
cluding members of your court of Nizamut Adawlut and superintendents . 
of pohce, have yoluntarily, and some of them nearly in the same terms, 
recommended the abolition of the horrid practice, and recorded their 
confident opinions and belief, that it might be abolished without any evil 
consequence whatever."* 

John Hudlestone and William Taylor Money, Esqrs., 
signed a dissent to the motion which referred the proposed 
paragraphs for Bengal to the Committee of Correspondence, 
stating — ** As they could not possibly be productive of Aarm, 
we regret the indefinite delay of any good which the im* 
mediate adoption of them might eventually have produced, 
reflecting that probably no day parses on which some vic- 
tims are not sacrificed to the horrid practice in India, and 
more especially in the Bengal provinces.^* They further 
observe, — " However necessary the toleration of the horrid 
enormity alluded to in Mr. C. Grant's work (written in 1792) 
might have been, when he so ardently deprecated its conti- 
nuance, we think ample grounds are laid (in the proposed 
dispatch) for doubting if that necessity any longer exists; 
and whether the British Government in India, with the 
power it now possesses, would find greater difficulty or dan- 
ger in putting down the most revolting of all the Hindoo 
practices, than it experienced in prohibiting all their other, 
but less cruel practices, and especially in annulling the 
Hindoo law which gave impunity to Brahmuns, and making 
them, in common with the inferior casts, amenable to the 
British laws."t— (East India House, March, 31, 1824). 

The late Rev. T. Thomason, chaplain in Calcutta, ex- 
presses his convictions of the propriety and safety of the 
abolition of Suttees, Feb. 1827: — ** Of the practicability of 
the abolition of these sacrifices with the most perfect safety — 
without the interception of the peace of the country for a 
moment — and even with the thanks of multitudes, I have not 

♦ Par. Papers, vol. v. p. 29, 30. f See 33, 34. See p. Ill, 130. 

74 India s Crie$ to 

the least doubt It is a great mistake to say that this is one of 
the deep-rooted general customs of the country, which on that 
account it would be dangerous to meddle with. It has been 
voluntarily discontinued oyer a rery large part of India. 
As to the practicability of abolishing the custom, there is, 
I believe, but one opinion with well-informed persons. 
Nothing would be easier. The Government has only to 
frame a regulation prohibiting the practice under proper 
penalties — the highest penalties — and the local magistrate 
would then be empowered to act. 1 do not apprehend the 
smallest political risk, and this I know to be the opinion of 
some of the ablest and most experienced magistrates in 
Bengal. I could have wished the odious practice were 
abolished by the Government there ; but, as this is hopeless, 
it will rejoice my heart to find it done by authority firom 

** I cannot refrain from giving it as my decided opinion," 
says the Rev. W. Ward, m a letter to the Earl of Claren- 
don, " that this dreadful practice might easily be abridged, 
and finally abolished by the British Government, vrithout 
creatine any alarm among the Hindoos." 

Dr. Marshman expresses the same opinion : '' It is only 
for the British Government to say — the murder of your 
widows is contrary to reason and revolting to humanity — 
We forbid it^ — ^and the practice will cease without giving 
birth to the slightest tumult. Forty years after the prohi- 
bition our Indian empire will be found, as far as this inter- 
ference could efiect it, equally unimpaired in its vigour and 
more deeply fixed in the enlightened attachment ot its sub- 


In reviewing the annual statement of Suttees, presented 
to the Indian Government, while it is distressing to see 
with what frequency and brutality the widow is hurried to 
the pile, it is grateful to see humanity sometimes triumph^ 
and tlie infatuated victim rescued ; afibrding demonstration 
how easily — 

" One mild effort of the conqu'ring band 

Might free the earth from this detested blot, 
And lead in blest religion to withstand, 

By ber meek precepts, what has dimmed the lot 
Of man, and wrought such deeds as cannot be forgot.*' 
The success of efforts to discountenance the perpetra- 
tion of this practice under the Presidencies of Madras and 

* Poynder's Speech, pp. 182—185. f P- 184. 

British Humaniiy. 75 

Bombay, has been very considerable^ and shows the facility 
of entirely suppressing this unnatural rite. The return of 
Suttees for the Madras Presidency, from 1817 to 1819, 
was 183; in 1820, 66; 1821, 50; 1822, 47; 1823, 38; 
total in seven years, 384 ; average per annum, 56. Under 
the Bombay Presidency, from 1819 to 1823, 245 ; average 
per annum 49. Who can doubt whether these few indivi- 
duals, sacrificed every year, could not have been saved in 
those extensive territories without exciting the least com- 
motion? Nor is the evil under the Bengal Presidency 
(containing probably a population of 50,000,000) so great 
as to deter exertions for its suppression; the number of 
Suttees being, from 1816 to 1626, 7154 ; average per annum 
596.* Might not British humanity and magnanimity have 
rescued these poor widows without the least danger to the 
state ? The multitude of counsellors reply in the affirmative. 

In the Bareilly division it is reported that, in 1815, three 
women were prevented from becoming Suttees. In the 
Patna division, in 1817, twenty-five Suttees took place, but 
five women were prevented who " were saved firom burning 
by the interference of the people of the village, or by the ar- 
rival of the police-officers.'' In the same year five Suttees 
are stated to have been prevented in the city of Benares* 
In the following year three other Suttees were prevented 
in ihe same city, and '' one woman, cast a Brahmun, ran 
away from the pile after it was set fire to» and is still living.*' 
Four widows were saved at Cuddapah in 1820.t 

The magistrate of the Patna division, in his returns of 
Suttees for 1822, writes, — " It is with satisfaction that I 
have noted that twelve widows have been either pre- 
vented or dissuaded from becoming Suttees; in nine of 
which they were dissuaded by the police officers ; in one 
the widow was prevented by a police officer, on account of 
a legal impediment, and in the two remaining cases the 
widows were dissuaded, one by the zemindar of the village 
and the other by her friends.'' In the returns from the same 
division for 1823 is the following interesting statement : — 
'' It will probably be considered the most remarkable feature 
of the present report that, on nine occasions of intended Sut- 
tees, at which alone the police-officers had an opportunity of 

* See Account of the York Meeting for the Suppression of Suttees, Jan. 
1827, p. 21. Jackson's Speech, p. 24. 
f Par. Papers, vol. i. p. 167, 173 ; vol. iv. and. v. p. 22 — 24. 

76 Indians Cries to 

being present, they succeeded^ without difficulty or opposi* 
tiotij in dissuading th£ widows from sa4;rificing themselves. 
From the enquiries that I have been able to make on the 
subject of Suttees during the last two years, I do not hesi- 
tate to offer an opinion that, in this district, it would not be 
attended with any dissatisfaction of a dangerous nature, if 
the Government should deem it proper to prohibit this lu" 
mentahle custom altogether; it even appears to me that the 
inhabitants of the district generally are prepared to hear of 
such a prohibition."t When shall suffering humanity in 
India hear the voice of mercy saying, kindle these horrid 
fires no more I 

In some parts of Orissa a pit is used for this dreadful sa- 
crifice, and the woman, after circumambulating it three or 
seven times, throws herself into the fire. The author saw 
one of these pits at Juggernaut's temple, in May 1824, but 
did not hear of the Suttee in time to be present. Even 
from this pit the victim sometimes escapes. In the Par. 
Papers of 1825, p. 109 and 150, is the following account : — 
" Rahang, in the thannah of Pooree (Juggernaut), died 
Aug. 26, 1823, and his widow, Mussumut Munee, aged 
fifty declared her intention of becoming a Suttee, and re- 
peated the^ declaration in the presence of the police officers* 
In pursuance of this intention, the day following she went 
through the usual ceremonies, and threw lierself into a 
burning pity uhere the body of her husband wa^ consuming ^ 
but almost immediately leapt out and made her escape. 
She was severely but not dangerously burnt, and an engage- 
ment was taken from the managers of the village binding 
themselves that she should be taken care of and proper re- 
medies applied. She returned to her family and was re- 
ceived by them as usual.*' 

W. Brooke, Esq., collector at Shahabad, in 1789, refused 
his consent to a widow's burning herself on application made 
to him ; but no bad consequences followed. In 1805, J. R. 
Elphinstone, Esq., magistrate of Behar, prevented a Suttee, 
a girl of twelve years of age ! He was afterwards " given 
to understand that the girl and her friends were extremely 
grateful for his interposition." J. Hodgson, Esq., magis- 
trate of Midnapore, and the magistrate of Goruckpore, in 
1817, prevented Suttees ; and it is added, *' in both cases 
the intended Suttees were eighteen years of age" W. 

t Par. papers, vol. iv. p. 122. See also Par. Papers, 1828, p. 18. 

British Humanity, 77 

Bird, Esq. magistrate of Benares, Id 1815» prevented two 
women from destroying themselves. He observes : ** both 
these Suttees were prevented by means of force ; and by 
this means no less than^va Suttees have been prevented 
within the space of two years at this place, without the 
slightest inconvenience resulting from it." J. Haig, Esq., 
acting judge in the Zillah Tinnevelly, io 181 9» writes : *' I 
am confident that the people are aware that the practice 
will never be sanctioned by the magistrate, and am happy 
that the accompanying documents enable me to afibrd a 
proof of the successful interposition of authority on a late 
occasion* in preventing the immolation of two females of 
high rank."* 

A regulation, prohibiting widows of the Jogee tribe bury- 
ing themselves alive, was promulgated Sep. 1817, which ap- 
pears interestiog, as indicating the influence of the British 
Government in India. It is as follows : — 

1. '' It having been ascertained that the shastra contains no authority 
for a practice which has prevailed amongst the Jogee tribe in some parts 
of the country, especially in the district of Tipperah, of burying alive the 
widows of persons of that tribe who desire to be interred with the bodies 
of their deceased husbands, such practice must necessarily be regarded 
as a criminal offence uuder the general laws and regulations of Govern- 

2. " The magistrates and police-officers, in every district where the 
practice above-mentioned has been known to exist, shall be careful to 
make the present prohibition as publicly known as possible ; and if any 
person, after being advised of it, shall appear to have been concerned in 
burying a woman alive in opposition thereto, he shall be apprehended 
and brought to trial for the offence before the Court of Circuit. 

3. ** The magistrates and police-officers are farther directed to use all 
practicable means for preventmg any such illegal act : and an attempt to 
commit the same, af^er the promulgation of these rules, though not car- 
ried completely into effect, will, on conviction, be punishable by the city 
magistrate, or by the Court of Circuit, according to the degree of crimi- 
nality and circumstance of the case/'f 

Buryiug alive appears still to be permitted ! The magis- 
trate of Burdwan, in March, 1820, is commended for not 
using his authority to save the widow of a jogee.J The 
Somachar Durpun, a newspaper in Bengalee, contains 
the following account: — ** A. certain jogee, or weaver, in- 
habitant of Somrah, died; his wife, according to the custom 

* Par. Papers, vol. v. p. 18, 19, 28. For an interesting account of the 
rescue of a Suttee at Juggernaut, see the Gen. Baptist Missionary Re- 
port for 1826. 

t Par. Papers, vol. i. p. 141. Mis. Reg. Dec. 1824. 

J Par. Papers, vol: ii. p. 27. 

78 India's Cries to 

of her own caste, went down to the grave ¥rith her de- 
ceased husband. Her friends and relatives instantly co^ 
vered the victim and the corpse with earth, and in this 
inhuman manner made an end of her existence." (Asi. 
Journ. Feb. 1827.) 

'' Human sacrifices, as of children, (says the late Bishop 
Heber, when at Ghazeepore, Aug. 1824), are never heard 
of now in these provinces, but it still sometimes happens 
that a leper is burnt or buried alive ; and as these murders 
lure somewhat blended with religious feeling, a leper being 
supposed to be accursed of the gods^ the oudder Dewan- 
nee, actiug on the same principle, discourages, as I am 
told, all interference with the practice. The best way 
to abolish it would be to establish Lazar houses^ where 
these poor wretches should be maintained, and, if possible, 
cured ; or at all events kept separate from the rest of the 
people, a policy * by which more than any thing else this 
hideous disease has been extirpated in Europe."* Why 
is Britain so timid to prevent the ravages of this murderous 
superstition ? 

Before the late Marquis of Hastings left India, in Jan. 
1823, the following " Supplicatory Lines'^ were addressed 
to him in a Calcutta Paper. They are expressive of the 
public opinion in India upon the subject of Suttees: — 

** Ere thy benignant power retires 

From India, bless'd beneath thy care, 
O auench those foal unhallow'd fires, 

Which belles own flame has kindled here, 
The stain of earth and upper air! 

Then o'er the sea, 
The orphan's blessing and the widow's prayer 

Shall follow thee. 
O ne'er to man has pitying Heaven 
A power so blest, so glorious given, 
Say but a single word and save ^>^ 

Ten thousand mothers from a flaming grave, 
And tens of thousands from the source of woe. 
That ever must to orphanM children flow ! 
Save from the flame the infant's place of rest. 
The couch by nature given — a mother's breast ; 
O bid the mother live— the babe caress her, 
And sweeter still its hoping accents bless her. 
India with tearful eye and bended knee, 
Hastings, her lord and judge, presents her plaint to thee." 

» Jour. vol. i. p. 269. 

British Humanity. 79 

O Britain, *^ plead for the widow !"— Let petitionn pour 
into Parliament from every quarter, which, like the streams 
of the east^ may quench diese dreadful fires. Let the 
rulers of India, who hold its destinies in their hands, hear 
the appeal of a writer in that country i~** Let us freely 
look at the practicability of its abolition, and number both 
its friends and its foes. We may calculate on the support 
of all the humane, the wise, and the good throughout 
India* We may depend on the great majority of the 
people who have prevented every village in India from 
being lighted up monthly with these infernal fires. Those 
who have used all their influence to liberate their country 
firom the stigma of this guilt, by preventing their mothers 
and sisters from ascending the funeral pile, will undoubt* 
ediy support us in discountenancing the practice. We 
shall enlist on our side all those tender feelings which, 
though now dormant, will then be roused into new vigour, 
but above all, we shall surround ourselves with the protec- 
tion of that Almighty Power, whose command is, * Thou 
shalt do no murder ;' who defends the weak and succours 
the injured; who, when the cries of oppressed India had 
pierced his throne, selected us of all other nations to break 
its chains and restore it to happiness. ""* 


A collection oJ> European and Native testimony to the 
position that the Suttee is not absolutely enjoined by 
the Hindoo shastras, and hence should be suppressed — 
methods proposed for its abolition — objections an^ 
swered — concluding appeal. 

Sir W. Jones, in his translation of the Institutes of 
Menu, the great Indian legislator, thus describes the work : 
— " This system of duties, religious and civil, and of law in 
all its branches, the Hindoos firmly believe to have been 
promulgated in the beginning of time by Menu, son or 
grandson of Brahma, or in plain language the first of 
created beings, and not the oldest only, but the holiest 

* Par. Papers, vol. iv. p. 26. 

80 India's Cries to 

of legislators." His high character is described in the 
following terms: — ** Menu sat reclined with his attention 
fixed on one object, the Supreme God ; when the divine 
sages approached him, and after mutual salutations, in dae 
form, delivered the following address: — * Deign sovereign 
ruler to apprize us of the sacred laws in their order, as 
they must be followed by all the classes, and by each of 
them, in their several degrees, together with the duties of 
every mixed class; for thou, lord, and thou only among 
mortals, knowest the true sense, the first principle, and the 
prescribed ceremonies of this universal, supernatural Veda, 
unlimited in extent, and unequalled in autfiority/ " After 
a careful perusal of this work, not the slightest reference 
to the custom of the Suttee has been found. It contains 
various laws relative to females ; a few extracts, in addition 
to what has been already quoted, may be interesting : — 
'' In his passage to the next world, neither his father, nor 
his mother, nor his wife, nor his son, nor his kinsmen, will 
remain in his company: his virtue alone will adhere to 
him. When he leaves his corse, like a log or a lump of 
clay on the ground, his kindred retire with averted faces : 
but his virtue accompanies his soul. Equal care must be 
taken of barren women, of women without sons, of women 
without kindred, of widows true to their lords, &c. A 
widow, who, from a wish to bear children, slights her 
deceased husband, by marrying again, brings disgrace on 
herself here below, and shall be excluded from the seat of 
her lord. Like those abstemious men (unmarried Brah- 
muns) a virtuous wife ascends to heaven, though she have 
no child, if after the decease of her lord she devote herself 
to pious austerity."* The duty of Hindoo widows is 
evidently a life of austere devotion till death, and the 
custom of Suttee is unknown in the institutes of tdis great 

The following extracts from the Parliamentary Papers, 
stating that the Suttee is not positively enjoined by the 
Hindoo shastras, and may therefore be suppressed, accord- 
ing to the opinion of many Europeans high in office in 
India, appear very important : — 

'* We really think (say the judge and registrar of Ally- 
pore, Ap. 1818) there is as little justification for a woman 
to burn herself with the remains of her deceased husband, 

* Sir W. Jones* Works, vol. vii. p. 240. 334. 271. 

British Humanity, 81 

as for a rajkoomor to destroy his danghters at their birth ; 
burying alive for the leprosy where the party is desirous to 
die; human sacrifices at Saugur; putting sorcerers to 
death, or killing a human creature by any other means, 
without justification or excuse : all of which are made 
capital offences by the regulations. The killing in all 
these instances has quite as much in its favour (on the 
score of prejudice and superstition) as the practice of 
Suttee: but we do not find the punishment of death, 
denounced against these crimes, has at all been considered 
by the people as an infringement of that complete tolera- 
tion, in matters of religion, which it has been a funda- 
mental principle of the British Government to allow. And 
there can he no doubt that the practice of Suttee might be 
a^ easily prevented throughout the British territories as 
any of the murderous practices above referred toJ*^* 

*' The suicide in these cases is not indeed a religious 
act, nor has it the sanction of Menu and other ancient 
legislators revered by the Hindoos. On the contrary. 
Menu declares that a virtuous wife ascends to heaven, 
though she have no child, if after the decease of her lord 
she devote herself to pious austerity.f The texts of Yama 
and Catyayana, quoted in the Vivada Bhangarnana 
(digest of Hindoo law), " on the duties of widows choosing 
to survive their husbands," are also to the same effect ;:j: and 
Vrihaspate adds,§ " whether she ascends the pile, or sur- 
vive for the benefit of her husband, she is a faithful wife." 
Some authors have condemned the suicide of widows alto- 
gether, as coming within a general prohibition against the 
wilful abridgement of human life ; and proceeding from a 
desire of future sensual enjoyment, in preference to the 
more pure and perfect state of beatitude promised for a life 
of virtue and piety." || (Govt. Regulations relative to 

" I submit,'^ says W. Ewer, Esq., Sup. of Police, Calcut- 
ta, Jan. 1819, " that it has little or no connexion with their 
religion. The practice is strongly recommended by the 
shastras, but nodiing more, and Menu (with other authori- 
ties of great respectability) prescribes the duties of a widow, 

* Par. Papers, vol. i. p. 99. 

f Text, 141, " Digest of Hindoo Law,''book iv. ch. 3, sec. 2. 
X Texts, 144, 146, ** Digest of Hindoo Law." § Text, 130, 
II p. 126. 


83 India's Cries to 

without hinting that burning herself is one of the most im- 
portant. In permitting, or indeed authorizing Suttees, we 
are by no means showing a proper forbearance to the re- 
ligions customs, or long established prejudices of the Hin- 
doos ; an act no where enjoined by any of the shastras ; on 
the contrary a crime which their own laws would punish 
with death ; and only tolerated by our Government because 
we overlook the impudent imposition which has transformed 
a recommendation to the widow to accompany her husband, 
into an order ^ which the relations must carry into effect if 
she should evince symptoms of disobedience. I cannot at- 
tempt to account for the great prevalence of Suttees in 
some districts and the rarity of them in others ; but it is a 
proof that it is a custom seldom thought of in the greater 
proportion of our dominions.*** 

'' I feel emboldened, in the cause of humanity, to state, 
that the practice (of Suttee) is neither prescribed by the 
shastra, nor encouraged by persons of education or in- 
fluence. I can speak, from positive authority,' that his 
Highness the Rajah of Tanjore has ever discouraged it; 
and I feel assured that, with the exception of a few Brah- 
muns, who derive a nefarious reward for presiding at this 
infernal rite, the prohibition of the practice would give uni- 
versal satisfaction."t (C. M. Lushington, Esq., Mag. at 
Combaconum, Sept, 1813.) 

C. Smith, Esq., second Judge in Calcutta, thus expresses 
his convictions of the necessity of suppressing this custom: — 
" My opinion is that the toleration of the practice of Suttee 
is a reproach to our Governments and that the entire and 
immediate abolition of it would be attended with no sort of 
danger. I would suggest a short regulation on the subject, 
somewhat in the style of the regulation against the sacrifice of 
children at Saugur :-— Whereas the practice of Suttee is shock- 
ing to humanity and contrary to nature ; and whereas the Bri- 
tish Government, after the most careful inquiry, and the most 
mature consideration, feels it impossible to be satisfied that 
this commission of self-murder can ever be in truth the 
voluntary and unbiassed act of the female who is sacrificed ; 
and whereas to interfere with a vigorous hand for the pro- 
tection of the weak against the strong, of the simple against 
the artful classes of its subjects, is one of the most impe- 

* Par. Papers, vol. i. p. 228. f p. 270. 258.— AcebuDt of 

York Meeting, p. 26. 

British Humanity. 8t 

Tioos and paraknount duties of every civilized state ; a duty 
from which it cannot shrink without a manifest diminution 
of its dignity, and an essential degradation of its character 
among nations, &Ci 8cc."^ (May, 1821.) 

''The ordinances of Menu," says S. Newnham, Esq., 
Cuddapah, April, 1820, ** which are one of the principal 
law authorities in this part of India, do not encourage the 
sacrifice in the same manner as others quoted in the Vivade 
Ohangamana, translated by Mr. Colebrook. * Let him not 
wish for death ! Let him not wish for life ! Let him ex- 
pect his appointed time, as a hired servant expects his 
wages,' are doctrines more agreeable to the Institutes of 
the.oldest Hindoo legislator, who mentions doctrines very 
averse from self-immolation of widows ; such as the raising 
up a son to the deceased by the widow. Here the marriage 
of widows is now deemed illegal, but not so in some of the 
most southern parts of the Peninsula. The Hindoo shastra 
lays down rules for securing proper provision for the 
widow, and confidence on the uninterrupted validity of such 
claims has probably proved, as a solace to their afflictions, 
one of the most efficacious considerations to the prevention 
of the practice ; while the persuasion which the priesthood 
use to widows, to induce them to devote their bodies to this 
sacrifice, have the greatest influence on those, whoy being 
icithout future protection and maintenance^ regard a 
fvbtwre sojourn in this world with despair.^^f 

The Hon. Court of Directors, in a letter addressed to 
the Grovemor General in Council, at Fort William, June, 
1823, thus express their views of the obligatory nature of 
Suttee, and the means of its abolition : — " Connected with 
the opinions expressed by many intelligent men, that the 
practice of Suttee is not a tenet of religion to which the 
people are enthusiastically attached^ but ratlk^er an abuse^ 
fostered by interested priests and relations, these instances 
of partial success lead us to regard the notion of prohibit 
tuniy modified according to circumstances, of this barbarous 
custom, with rather less apprehension than it has generally 
produced. Assuredly the most acceptable form of success 
would be that which would be brought about by such an 
increase of intelligence among the people as should show 
them the wickedness and absurdity of the practice ; next to 
this, we should rejoice to see the abolition effected by the 

• Par. Papers, ?ol. ii. p. 63. f P- ^8- See p. 103, 104. 
G 2 

S4 India's Cries to 

influence and the co-operation of the higher order of na- 
tives."* It is gratifying to see this interesting subject dis- 
cussed by different classes of society, and there can be no 
doubt that the abolition of the Suttee would be hailed in 
India as an act expected from the British Government, and 
reflecting lustre upon its administration. 

** Whatever opinion may be entertained/' says J. H. 
Harington, Esq., in a paper addressed to the Right Hon. 
the President of the Board of Control, in May, 1822, " on 
the policy which has hitherto induced the British Govern^ 
ment to tolerate the immolation of Hindoo widows, as con^ 
sidered to be in some degree a religious observance, al- 
though it is not a prescribed duty^ as may be seen in Mr. 
H. Colebrbok's Translation of Original Texts on the sub- 
ject (Vol. iv. of the Transactions of the Asiatic Society)^ 
there can be no sufficient or legitimate reason for permitting 
a practice so repugnant to every feeling and principle of 
humanity, in opposition to the only laws which can be 
pleaded in justification ofii.^^f 

*' It is worthy of remark," says the Asiatic Journal, 
" that the practice seems to prevail most in particular dis-» 
tricts. In so considerable a degree is it of a local character, 
that there is just ground for regarding it as a rite not 
considered by the Hindoos in general as enforced by any 
positive obligatory rule (which is not the fact), but owing its 
prevalence to local prejudices, to the efiect of example, and 
perhaps to the disingenuous efforts of interested individuals. 
Were such the fact, the danger of resolute interference 
would be materially lessened." Asiat. Jour., Dec, 1825. 

R. Jackson, Esq., in the debate on the subject of the 
Suttees, at the General Court of Proprietors, March, 1827, 
said, ^* He relied upon the opinion of near sia^ty of their 
most eminent servants^ such as residents, judges, and ma- 
gistrates, that it might easily be subdued by a mixture of 
firm and conciliatory measures, who founded their opinions 
upon at least as many instances in which such conduct had 
been successful. Should it now fail, he would not hesitate 
at coercion — they must obey God rather than man !" Asiatic 
Journal, May, 1827, p. 732. . 

" The Suttee." says Charles Marsh, Esq., in the House 
of Commons, in 1813, " is enjoined by no positive precept 

^ * Par. Papers, vol. iii. p. 45. •\ Vol. iv. p. 20. See p. 156, 156. 
Also p. 181, 182. 

British Humanity. 85 

of the Hindoo religion. It is a species of oyerstrained in- 
terpretatioD of its duties : and the offspring of that fanaticism 
which will inevitably grow up, and has more or less grown 
up, under every system of religion/'* Ought not such 
fanaticism to be corrected ? 

The late C. Grant, Esq., in his ** Observations on the 
manners of the natives of British India,'' adverts to this 
custom, and intimates that to say we should continue to 
allow of these great disorders in "all time to come would 
be too daring a conclusion." " It may indeed appear sur- 
prising that in the long period during which we have held 
these territories, we have made no serious attempt to recal 
the Hindoos to the dictates of truth and morality. This is 
a mortifying truth how little it has been considered that the 
ends of Government and the good of Society have an inse- 
parable connexion with right principles. We have been 
satisfied with the apparent submissiveness of these people, 
and have attended chiefly to the maintenance of our au- 
thority over the country, and the augmentation of our com- 
*merce and revenue ; but have never, with a view to the 
promotion of their happiness, looked thoroughly into their 
internal state."t 

The philanthropic and eloquent Wilberforce thus pleaded 
the cause of benighted India, in the British Senate, in 1813 : 
— " Oh, Sir, if we lived nearer these unfortunate people^ 
their distressed situation would exact from us more prompt 
relief. It was formerly my task to plead the cause of a 
people whose woes affected every heart, who were finally 
rescued from the situation in which they groaned by the 
abolition of the Slave Trade. That cause was doubtless the 
cause of suffering humanity ; but I declare that, even if we 
exclude the consideration of religion, humanity appears to 
me to be still more concerned in the cause I am now plead- 
ing, than in that of which I wa^ formerly the advocate J^ 

The Rev. T. Scott of Aston Sandford, in his valuable 
Commentary, has the following remarks on Numbers xxxv. 
33: — ** So ye shall not pollute the land wherein ye are; 
for blood it defileth the land : and the laud cannot be 
cleansed of the blood that is shed therein but by the blood 
of him that shed it." *' The connivance of our Government 
in the burning of widows, and in human sacrifices, and in 
other species of murder committed in our East Indian do- 

. * Dr. Johns's Pamphlet respecting the Suttee, p. 96. f Par. PaperSj^ 
vol. V. p. 33. Townley's Answer to the Abbey Dubois, p. 109. 

86 India's Cries to 

minions, under the pretext of an idolatrous religion, is 
wholly unjustifiable, and burdens our land^ und all connected 
with those distant regions y with the guilt of blood not ex- 
piated by that of those who shed it,^'' — The blood of Suttees 
cries to Britain. O may she soon ** make inquisition for 
blood," that ** the blood of the souls of the poor innocents" 
may not be ** found upon her skirts!" 

The Rev. II. Shepherd, late senior chaplain in Calcutta, 
in a pamphlet *' On the Inefficiency of the Ecclesiastical 
Establishment of India," justly remarks, — ** These dread- 
ful sacrifices (Suttees) form no essential part of the Hindoo 
system of religion ; and that these burnings alive, amidst 
the horrid din of discordant instruments and the unhallowed 
shouts of enthusiastic thousands, proceed from the force of 
education, or perhaps from an organised system of an into- 
lerant priesthood. If it were a system of religion, as shed- 
ding of human blood, it would have no claim to toleration 
from any Government ; but, as a system of priestcraft, it 
may more consistently be considered as a system of murder ; 
and as such it ought, even by the strong arm of power, to * 
be suppressed." — ^p. 66, 67. 

The editor of the Missionary Register (Feb. 1828), re- 
ferring to the Suttee and the pilgrim tax in India, very 
justly observes, — " There are two topics of a very distress- 
ing nature, because they are putting to hazard the fidelity 
of this country in the discharge of that high trust which has 
been committed to it in its delegated stewardship in India." 
On the suppression of the Suttee, it is said, ''opinions are 
circulated, in the face of the overwhelming weight of autho- 
rities to the contrary, that it would not be safe (to abolish 
it), and that, therefore, it is not the duty of Government to 
put an end to the practice. We are painfully convinced, in 
reading the declarations and arguments of almost all those 
who make these assertions, whether persons in office in In- 
dia or such as attempt to influence the public opinion at 
home, that they understand and feel neither the real nature 
nor the exclusive obligation of Christianity. It will be 
nothing short of odious hypocrisy in the sight of Almighty 
God to refrain, under the notion of danger, to carry into 
efiect a solemn resolution which has in view the advance- 
ment of his glory and of the acknowledged good of the 
natives placed under our charge, when no such apprehen- 
sion of danger prevents the attainment, even by force, of any 
object deemed important to political welfare." — p. 76. 

British Humanity. 87 

It a{>pears very important to ascertain the opinion of the 
Hindoos themselves upon the obtigation of the rite of Sut- 
tee. In the Bewasta, received from Mutoonjoy, pundit of 
tbe Supreme Court, in 1817, respecting the burning of 
Hindoo widows and other sacrifices among the Hindoos, 
Menu is not mentioned among the various authorities quoted ; 
and it is acknowledged '* on the subject of anoogamun 
(Suttee) the shastras exhibit a great variety of opinions; but 
no difference prevails with regard to the propriety of leading 
a life of austerity."* 

'* The judge of the Southern Concan, V. Hale, Esq., in 
Oct. 1819, says, — * In the neighbouring state of Sawunt 
Warree these restrictions (adopted by the Peishwa) were 
carried at one time to much greater length than mere per- 
suasion, since we find during the reign of Kem Sawunt a 
positive prohibition against the practice, which existed 
for ten or twelve years, and that too without creating any 
disturbance or any outward marks of discontent, afford- 
ing (if the tradition be not greatly exaggerated), a most 
favourable instance of what might be done, and to what the 
people would submit without considering their religious pre- 
judices too much shocked.''t 

" I can speak from positive authority," says C. M. Lush- 
ington, Esq., acting magistrate of Gombaconum, in 1813, 
*' that his highness the Rajah of Tanjore has ever dis- 
couraged it." Mr. Lushington alludes to Serfagee, the 
present rajah, who had succeeded his uncle Ameer Sing, 
and we understand that the late Rajah Tuljajee, of whom 
the present Rajah is the adopted son, discouraged the 
practice ; and, as a proof of his disapprobation of it, a very 
few hours before his death, gave positive orders to his wives 
not to bum on his funeral pUe, and to his principal officer 
not to permit them, and the orders were obeyed without 
opposition and apparently without exciting any dissatisfac^ 

W. Chaplin, Esq., Commissioner in the Deccan, in 1825, 
observes, — " The Brahrauns appear to be far firom satis- 
fied with the mode of our interposition^ and some have sug- 
' gested to me, that in preference to continuing it, the com- 
munity would be infinitely better pleased were Government 
absolutely to prohibit women altogether from becoming 
Suttee.'*^ Upon which F. Warden, Esq., member of coun- 

* Par. Papers, vol. i. p. 124. f Vol. v. p. 23. J p. 25. See p. 131, 132. 

§ p. 146. 

88 Indians Cries to 

cil, Bombay, justly observes, — " The remark contained in 
the Commissioner's letter affords an opening for considering 
the expediency of exercising a more decided interference 
by absolutely prohibiting the practice of Suttee : I hare 
already recorded an opinion that all the sanguinary cus^ 
toms o/tlie Hindoos might be proldbited, tmthout affecting 
either the security or popularity of our supremax^. Many 
of the most intelligent Brahmuns view the custom with ab- 
horrence ; from the Mahrattas, I conclude, we need appre- 
hend no opposition, nor from the M ahomedans ; and we 
may safely calculate on the forbearance of a majority of 
those who possess influence over the minds of the Brah^ 
munee females.*'* 

The late Rev. W. Ward, in a letter to the Earl of Cla- 
rendon, relates the following remarkable facts : — '* In 1817 
I was riding near Serampore, where there had been a 
Suttee: after making inquiries respecting the family and 
rank of the widow, I addressed a few individuals on the 
crime in which they had been assisting. One of these men 
answered, — Sir^ whatever the act now committed may 6e, 
we have nothing to fear. You (the English Government) 
mu^t see to that ; for the police magistrate has been here 
and given the order, and according to that order the woman 
hus been burnt ^^^^ 

The judge of Chittor, in 1823, declares — " The best in- 
formed and most respectable part of the natives would 
themselves have often prevented this ceremony, if they had 
had the power.":}: 

In Malabar a summary of the laws of the shastra was 
drawn up by the natives, from which they actually conclude 
against the practice in the following terms : — " From these 
texts it IS clear that the rules relative to the observance of 
Anugamanum (Suttee) does not extend to the Keroola, 
and cannot be admitted to be performed there, even if a 
person is willing to do so."§ 

Bruja M ohun, in his Strictures on the present system of 
Hindoo Polytheism, written in the Bengalee language and 
printed in Calcutta, 1818, reprobates the practice of Suttee. 
" Promismg heaven to your elder or younger sister — to % 
your mother or grandmother — or daughter or friend— -you 
bind them down with ropes and bamboos, and burn them on 

* Par. Papers, vol. v. p. 149. 

t Poynder's Speech on Humi^r Sacrifices in India, p. 65. See 114. 

J p. 216. § p. 21T. 

British Humanity. 80 

the funeral pile. When we witness the perpetration of 
these murders, does not nature itself move us to forbid 
them ? Some of you consider the drinking of wine, and 
the extinction of life, and the shedding of blood, as condu- 
cive to salvation — we do not. To burn defenceless women, 
to murder an aged father and mother, by immersing them 
in water, you esteem holy — we esteem these deeds unholy/'* 

In 1819 a petition was presented to the late Marquis of 
Hastings, from the Hindoo inhabitants of Calcutta, praying 
for the abolition of Suttees. An extract only is given : — 
" Your petitioners beg leave to submit, to the benevolent 
attention of your Lordship's Government, that in the opinion 
of many of the most learned Brahmuns, founded upon the 
shastras, all kinds of voluntary death are prohibited ; that 
Menu, whose authority is admitted to be equal to that of 
the Vedas, positively enjoins widows to lead a life of virtue 
and abstinence from sensual gratifications ; that the Yedant 
which contains the essence of the Vedas, as well as the 
Geeta, forbids all acts done with the view of future tempo- 
rary reward; and that amongst the inferior authorities, 
while some, as the Smritee shastras, actually prohibit all 
violent death : others, Mitakshura, declare the leading of a 
virtuous life preferable to dying on the pile of the husband ; 
and a few only insist on the superior merit of concrematiou/*t 

** When the meeting was held by the Hindoo gentlemen 
of Calcutta to vote an address of thanks to Lord Hastings 
on his leaving Bengal, in 1823, Rhadacant Deb proposed, 
as an amendment, that Lord Hastings should be particularly 
thanked for * the protection and encouragement which he 
had afforded to the ancient and orthodox practice of widows 
burning themselves with their husbands' bodies:' a proposal 
which was seconded by Hurree Mohun Thakoor, another 
wealthy baboo. It was lost, however ; the cry of the meet- 
ing, though all Hindoos, being decidedly against it. — 
(Heber's Joum. vol. i. p. 72.) 

Ram Mohun Roy, in his pamphlet entitled " A Confer- 
ence between an advocate and an opponent of the practice 
of burning widows," states the sentiments of the humane 
and enlightened among the Hindoos on this subject: — 
The Veda declares, — ' By living in the practice of regular 
and occasional duties the mind may be purified. By hear- 

* Friend of India, Dec. 1818. 

+ Poynder'8 Speech, p. 220. See p. 222 — 224. 

90 India's Cries io 

ing and reflecting and constantly meditating on the Sa- 
preme Being, absorption in Brumhu may be attained. 
Therefore, from a desire daring life of future fruition, life 
ought not to be destroyed!' Menu, Yagnyuvulkyu, and 
others, have, in their respective codes of lavr, prescribed to 
widows the duties of ascetics only. The ancient saints and 
holy teachers and their commentators and yourselves (ad- 
vocates of the Suttee), as well as we and all others, agree 
that Menu is better acquainted than any other lawgivers 
with the spirit of the Vedas. He has directed widows to 
spend their lives as ascetics." It is thus closed: — '* It is . 
to me a source of great satisfaction that you (the advocates) 
are now ready to take this matter into your serious consi- 
deration. By forsaking prejudice, and reflecting on the 
shastra, what is really conformable to its precepts may be 
perceived, and the evil and disgrdce brought on this ccrni- 
munity^ by the crime of female murder^ will cea^e^'* 

" I have heard," says the Rev. H. Townley, in his 
" Answer to the Abbe Dubois," of the reply being repeat- 
edly given to the expostulations of Europeans:—** If there 
is any blame in our proceedings, it belongs to yourselves; 
for we are acting under British sanction,^'* He adds, 
** The native who Instructed me in the Bengalee language 
(who was a Brahmun of more than ordinary intelligence), 
frequently expressed his surprise to me that Government 
did not issue an order that no more Suttees should be per- 
mitted ; intimating his conviction that no commotion what- 
ever would ensue."* 

The Rev. E. Carey, late missionary in Calcutta, at a 
public meeting at Manchester, in Aug. 1828, observed, — 
** As the subject of Suttees had been mentioned, he would 
state his conviction that all the real obstacles to the prac- 
tice of burning widows existed at home. He did not 
mean to say that obstacles were to be found in the wishes 
of any party, but in their misconception of the case. He 
had conversed with a Brahmun and pundit on the subject, 
who said, * If the practice is so heinous , why not suppress 
itf" They fear (Mr. C. observed) to hurt their religious 
scruples. ** What ! (replied the Brahmun). We have com- 
pulsory taxes on the brahminical lands, and will it go 
nearer to our consciences to save our daughters from the 

* Townley's Answer to the Abbe Dubois, p. 180. 190. 

BriiUh Hunumity. 91 

- When Dr. Johns was in India (in 1812), the princifial 
BrabmuDS at the Mission Press, Serampore, were asked, 
whether the interference of the Government to suppress so 
horrid a custom would be objected to by the natives. 
They promptly answered '' that it would not, and encou- 
raged the idea of such an interference.''^ ** It ought to be 
considered, that some of the most respectable pandits do 
not approve the practice, and would be happy if it were 
abolished: while many others reproach %is for permitting 
it to exist: ''y 

Why is Britain afraid to do justice upon those who shed 
innocent blood? — " Where are the bowels of our mercy? 
— Where our fears of the retributive justice of heaven ? — 
How long shall this scourge continue to desolate India, 
and dishonour Britain ? We may answer in the memorable 
language of a Brahmun, * till the British (government 
shall think proper to abolish it" % 

While some of the authorities in India hesitate relative 
to the propriety of suppressing Suttees, it must be interest- 
ing to know the methods proposed for the abolition of this 
horrid rite. 

In 1805 the Court of Nizamut Adawlut, Calcutta, ex- 
pressed themselves as follows: — '* After information has 
been obtained of the extent to which the practice prevails, 
and of the districts in which it has fallen into disuse, or in 
which it is discountenanced by the most respectable classes, 
it may be immediately abolished in particular districts^ 
and be checked and ultimately prohibited in the other 
parts of these provinces." But " since this time the in^ 
human practice, instead of its abolition being effected or 
any prohibition of it issued, appears to have gradually 
increased !"§ 

The late J. H. Harington, Esq., member of council, Cal- 
cutta, in a very important minute on the Suttee, June, 
1823, states, — " With respect to the impracticability of 
putting a stop to the immolation of Hindoo widows by a 
legal prohibition and penal enactments, if the assistance 
of Brahmuns smd others be requisite to enable the widow 
to devote herself in the prescribed mode, it would surely 
be possible to prevent such aid being given by a public 

* See Dr. Jxjhns's pamphlet, p. 92. — ^Account of York Meeting, 
p. 23, 24. 
t Asiatic Observer, No. nii. Oct. 1824, p. 371. 
J Grimshs^wV Appeal, p. 24. § Par. Papew, vol. v. 1827, p*6. 

92 Indians Cries to 

interdictioii* with a declaration that any person hereafter 
promoting a female sacrifice shall be liable to a criminal 
prosecution, as principals or accomplices, for homicide ; and 
that, on conviction, it will not be held any justification that 
the person was desired by the deceased to cause, aid, or in 
any manner to promote her death ; or that the deceased 
became a Suttee by a voluntary act of self-devotion. This, 
in fact, is already in force (Sec. 3, regula. viii. 1799), 
although the intention of the regulation has not been con- 
sidered applicable to Suttees. It would I conceive be 
8u£Eicient to issue a proclamation through the country, de-* 
daring the section applicable to all persons convicted as 
principals or accomplices in wilful homicide, in the instance 
of a woman sacrificed by sahamaran or anoomaran.* It 
is probable that a proclamation to this efiect would not at 
once prove completely eflectual ; secret immolations would 
still take place occasionally, and in some instances the 
widow, under a paroxysm of grief and the delusion of 
superstition, might be expected to devote herself on her 
husband's pile, or otherwise even without brahminical 
assistance ; but such cases would be rare ; and, after a few 
examples of wilful deviation from the rule, I have no 
doubt the practice would be soon abandoned^ as unsanc- 
tioned by Government^ and subjecting the abettors to 
punishment in owr criminal coui^s.^^f It is deeply to be 
regretted that this judicious plan has not been adopted. 
The author has heard of a magistrate at Ganjam preventing 
a Suttee by prohibiting the sale of the materials requisite 
for the dreadful sacrifice. 

The magistrate at Gazeepore, W. L. Melville, Esq., 
addressed a letter to the judges of the provincial court 
circuit, Benares, in July, 1823, in which he says, — " I wish to 
obtain the sanction of the superior authorities to a plan for 
checking the practice of Suttee. It appears to me de- 
sirable to attempt to carry this object, in the first instance, 
in particular districts^ and not simultaneously throughout 
the country.^: I do not think any new regulations upon 

* Burning with or without the body of her husband. 

t Vol. iv. 1825, p. 10. 

j In a discussion respecting Suttees in the House of Commons, June 
6, 1825, C. W. Wynne, Esq., M. P., said, " he would give his consent to 
its being wholly prohibited in those districts where it had already fallen 
intQ disuse ; but he thought that going any farther would not be attended 
with the effect the friends of humanity anticipated.'' , 

Briiiih Humanity. 98 

the subject are requisite. Under the Mahometan law I 
conceive any person aiding or abetting another in. commit- 
ting suicide would be punishable : all I wish for is permis" 
sum to carry into execution laws which have been dor' 
mant. I would begin by endeavouring to induce the 
principal people in the district to unite among themselves 
to abandon and discourage the practice; should they 
consent to this« little further difficulty would, I hope, be 
experienced ; should I be mistaken, and meet with decided 
opposition, I doubt whether it would be expedient to 
proceed farther at present ; from what I have heard I am 
inclined to think the people would be very well pleased to 
have so good a reason as an order of Government would 
afford for entirely giving up the performance of the rite/' 
On this communication it is remarked : — '' The court have 
no observations, in addition to what has been already 
advanced, to offer on the present occasion/'* Fort "Wil- 
liam, July 26, 1828. 

It is to be deeply regretted that these judicious measures 
have not been tried. ** 

Captain H. Pottinger, collector of Ahmednanger* speak- 
ing of a Suttee that occurred in that city in Aug. 1818» 
says, — ''I tacitly consented to the sacrince, but at the 
same time positively refused any assistance towards defray- 
ing the expenses for the requisite clotJtes for the woman 
or for the wood to form the pyre, and liketmse eleclined 
to sanction the proceeding by my presence or that of any 
person on my part. 1 have little doubt of the success of 
my interposition, in the majority of cases that may occur, 
when I have it in my power to assure the woman of the 
means of subsistence,'^^ f A former volume of the papers 
(vol. iii. p. 47) remarks : — " An encouragement seems at 
one time to have been held out to Suttees, by granting to 
the family of the victim a portion of free land, similar to 
the provisions of the descendants of sepoys killed on service. 
The instances are far from numerous." Chandgurgh, 
Bombay Presidency, July, 1821. It is to be hoped that 
such instances of the encouragement of this custom are not 
numerous ! 

In the Par. Papers, vol. i. p. 264 — 268, relative to the 
Bombay Presidency, reference is made to making provision 
for the widow who was prevailed upon to decline immo- 

* Par. Papers, yol. ir. p. 84, 85. f Vol. y, p. 20. Vol. i. p. 244. 

94 India's Cries to 

lating herself. But this plan, like every other, short of 
entire prohibition, is defective, as it may have (to use the 
language of W, Chaplin, Esq., Commissioner of the Dec- 
can) '' the injurious effect of leading persons to feign a 
resolution to burn themselves in the hope of being paid for 

J* H. Harington, Esq., suggested that magistrates should 
be authorized " to hold out some public encouragement, as 
an honorary dress, title, or other rewards, to any landholder 
or other person of local influence, who should distingaish 
himself by active and successful endeavours to discourage 
and suppress the sacrifice of Hindoo widows." The chief 
secretary to Government replied under date, Ap. 14, 
1825 : — " His lordship in council will be happy to notice 
by a suitable mark of his approbation any Zemindar, or 
other native of rank or respectability, who may have caused 
or may cause the discontinuance of the practice where it 
was before prevalent among his own relations and con- 
nexions, and may have successfully exerted himself in 
prooliring the general relinquishment of it in his own 
estate, or to any considerable extent within the sphere 
of his influence." * 

The nature of the system of discountenancing Suttees 
pursued on the Madras side of India is as follows: — 
** Where (says the writer of the following article in a Cal- 
cutta paper) the immolation of widows, thmigh once Jre* 
qtwnty is now seldom knottm. Before any woman can 
destroy herself by burning, permission must be obtained of 
the magistrate. On the request being preferred the appli- 
cant is directed to wait a little for an answer; the magis- 
trate in the mean time sends for his cutwal and instructs 
him to proclaim that a certain woman intends burning her- 
self, but should any Bunian or Bukall be discovered selling 
any article required for the purpose to the said woman, or 
any cooly offering his assistance by carrying oil, wood, &c., 
to the spot appointed, the former shall be turned out of the 
bazar, and the latter otherwise punished. It is also pro- 
claimed that, should any crowd collect, the police peons 
are to disperse it, and to confine to the CutwaFs Choultry 
all persons resisting the police authority ; should any Brah- 
mun belonging to any public offices be seen in the crowd, 
or any of his relations be found aiding the ceremony, stich 

* Par. Papers, vol. i. p. 51. 

British Humaniiy. 96 

servant shall be discharged Jrom his situation* Hie 
whole of this being proclaimed, the applicant is desired ta 
take leave. As may be expected, it has been observed, 
that imth these restrictions no burning has taken place ! — 
Prevent a crowd from collecting to tvitn^ss the immolationy 
and rest assured no su4)h ceremony proceeds ! Mark the 
disappointment of the Brahman when he discovers that a 
crowd cannot be collected ; mortified, he abandons the 
victim of his persuasion to shift for herself. His zeal is 
exerted in proportion to his expected popularity, or to the 
woridly advantage he is to derive. So it is with the poor 
deluded widows; harassed into assent to they know not 
what, ninety-nine out of a hundred of them secretly rejoice 
that their attempt at self-destruction has been, by the 
above means, frustrated. As the remedy can hardly be 
said to be attended with coercion, it appears no difficult 
undertaking to introduce the practice of it in Bengal, 
and hereby render an essential service to the Hindoo com- 
munity.'' (R. S. Moligaipore, March, 1823.) 

The Rev« H. Shepherd, late of Calcutta, in bis pamphlet 
** On the inefficiency of the Ecclesiastical Establishment of 
India," suggests the following steps to suppress Suttees:—* 
that " An edict be published, declaratory that Suttees 
shall continue to be allowed to take place under the regula- 
tions now in force, but that, as the Government cannot re- 
frain from expressing their utter abhorrence of such pro- 
ceedings, they do for the future determine -that no son, 
brother, or cousin, of the first or second degree, of any 
female so burning, shall be permitted to hold any situation 
or renew any leases under Government. Such a decree 
would so effectually operate in deterring many from their 
atrocious practices, who employ artifice to entrap the widow 
into the fatal declaration which consigns her to death ; that 
thousands in after-times will live to bless the Government 
who have had the power and the will to deliver them from 
the despotic dominion of a sanguinary priesthood."* This 
measure would doubtless save many widows, but would not 
annihilate the cruel custom. 

" Were second marriages/' says the editor of the ' Friend 
of India,' esteemed honourable, and the children born of 
them permitted to inherit equally with those of a first mar- 
riage ; a practice sanctioned not merely by the laws of all 

'^ Shepherd's Inef. of Ecc. Esta. of India, 2d edition (London), p. 67, 68. 

90 India's Cries to 

Christian countries, bat even those of Oreece and Rome 
notwithstanding their idolatry ; many think that this alone 
woald gradually extinguish the practice."* The importance 
of such a change in die circumstances of Hindoo widows 
must be self-evident. 

In the debate at the India House, on the subject of Sut- 
tees, March 1827, Captain Maxfield suggested '' that a 
woman applying to burn herself with the body of her hus- 
band should be obliged to wait three months ; and that in 
all cases the application for such license should be made in 
person ; this he had no doubt would, in a vast majority of 
cases, be an effectual prevention, as it would afford time for 
reflection." Dr. Gilchrist said — " He thought there was a 
way by which the abolition of the practice might be effected 
without danger to the Company's interest. That way, as an 
author, he had pointed out to their governor'general in 
India forty years ago. His plan was that any Hindoo 
in any way connected tmth a Suttee^ not merely instru- 
mental to the burning y but any relation or connexion of 
a woman who had burned herself should be declared 
for ever incapable of holding .any phice of office^ autho- 
rity ^ or emolument^ in the Company's service. It would be 
a stain upon their character, as sovereigns, as legislators, 
and as men, if they did not take some steps to check a 
practice repugnant to the laws of nature and of civil so- 

In the Asiatic Journal for July, 1826, are three letters in 
English, written by Bengalees, on the subject of Suttees, 
extracted from a Calcutta Newspaper, which are very curious 
compositions, and show the sentiments of sensible natives 
on the nature of this appalling rite. We can give but a 
short extract or two. — '* Her brother Roopnarain Gosaul, 
who is supposed to be a wealthy man, and being so long in 
the Honourable Company's service ought to be discharged 
from his place, and prosecuted in the Supreme Court for 
giving countenance to such an inhuman act. No body anger 
could be minded when a life is concerned ; she ought to be 
prevented to burn. If Governor General gives orders to 
remove the woman from her relations^ at her pronouncing 
that she tvill bum, and allow her to remain one day in a 
comfortable place taith English Ladies that understand 

* Vol. ii. 332. t Asi. Joum. May, 1827. 

British Humanity. 97 

the country*8 langtuige^ there is not doubt her mind shall 
be purified^ and her foolish thoughts shaU he removed^ and 
will not be anxious to do such a ba^e a^t as to burn with 
the dead person.'* (Muddanmohun Mullick, Calcutta, Jan. 
27, 1827.) 

** I fully agree with the sentiments contained in Muddun- 
mohun's letter. If the Government in Council give orders 
to remove all the women on pronouncing that they will 
bum, to be placed with an intelligent English person to per- 
suade them to the contrary, and not allow any of the rela- 
tions to converse, or make them take intoxicating drugs, 
they will never die in such an inhuman manner. I have 
lost my wife these six years, and have not married again 
for fear she may bum with my body at my death. — The 
Hindoo women have no sense ; they hear from their supe- 
riors the cremation is an holy act, and they are fools enough 
to listen to it, which only induces them to express their sen- 
timents that they will bum ; and as soon as such a declara- 
tion is obtained, all the unfeeling relations use all their ex- 
ertions to induce the poor unfortimate widows to suffer such 
a cruel death. I hope you will not refuse to have this ap- 
peared in your interesting Paper, and oblige me." (Sunchum 
Sill, Calcutta, Jan. 31, 1826.) 

A vnriter in the Asiatic Observer, No. 8 (published in 
Calcutta, Oct. 1824), very forcibly remarks upon this sub- 
ject, — * Let one man of influence in society take the object 
into consideration, deliberately, and with a determination 
to find out some plan to which he can solicit the attention 
of the public, and we have as little doubt of his success as 
we have of the disposition of the public to assist him. It 
has been thought that it would be advisable for the in- 
habitants of Calcutta to present a petition to the Supreme 
Government, or through them to our own Legislators at 
home. It would certainly be an honourable thing to those 
who made it, and entitle them to a place among the friends 
of India to the latest age. It has been suggested that it 
would be very honourable to the ladies in Calcutta, were 
they all to unite in presenting a petition and soliciting the 
Lady of the Governor General, to do them the honour of 
putting her name first. This would display the humanity 
and sympathy of the Calcutta Ladies, and have a great 
practical effect, by leading many to impress on their hus- 
bands the importance of rescuing a degraded part of the 

96 India's Cries to 

female sex,* If all the Knights of the preseDt day could 
be persuaded to undertake the rescuing of Bengalee widows 
from the flames, they would attempt a nobler deed than 
was ever achieved since the order was instituted; and^ 
should they be successful, would transmit to posterity a 
name more honourable than any or all of their brethren. 
Another plan that has been proposed, and acted upon in 
part, is, that houses of agency, mercantile houses, &c., 
would set ther faces against this practice, by dismissing from 
their employment any person who has been brutal enough 
to burn his own mother. This would teach the natives the 
abhorrence that Europeans have of the crime, and would, 
in many instances, prevent it from being committed. We 
are encouraged, from the spirit of the British Nation, and 
the prophecies of Scripture, confidently to anticipate an 
end of the miseries we now deplore. That a Parliament 
which has abolished the Slave Trade wiU for ever permit 
the burning of widows, we can never believe. Slavery did 
not receive its death-blow at once ; many blows were aimed 
at the monster before its head was broken ; and its carcase 
is not even yet all consumed. So it may be in the case 
under discussion : it may be brougfit forward several times 
before all objections to it, real and fictitious, are answered -^ 
but, unless humanity and wisdom 'perish from the British 
Senate J we are certain that sooner or later they will put 
an end to this horrid practice,^'* 

The nature and extent of human sacrifices in British In* 
dia present * a tale whose lightest word might harrow up 
the soul.'f What objections to the abolition of these sa* 
crifices (particularly to the Suttee) can be urged sufficient 
to justify a Christian Chvemment in the permission of 
such sanguinary practices ? ** The importance of this inquiry, 
either with reference to the sacrifice of human life, or to the 

* Would not petitions to the British parliament, signed by females 
from the principal cities and towns in Great Britain and Ireland, have 
a similar effect? Should it be objected — this is an unprecedented 
method of expressing public opinion ; it may be replied, '' Is not the 
destruction) of so many hundred unhappy widows annually in British 
India, a sufficient justification of it?'' In the session of 1829 three fe* 
male petitions were presented and were favourably received. Auth. 

f See Address of the Society for the Abolition of Human Sacrifices in 
India. Evan., Bap., and Cong. Magazine, January, 1829. And also 
MctH. Mag. and Month. Repos. * 

British Humamiy. 99 

character of British rule in India, cannot be overrated."* 
The following appear to be the principal objections to the 
immediate suppression of the burning of Hindoo widows. 

It is considered an ancient custom or religious rite, and 
its abolition intolerance to the Hindoo religion. ** Those 
who deny," says the Asiatic Journal, *' that it is expressly 
enjoined by ancient law, admit that it is countenanced and 
commended by its expositors ; and custom itself, as of so 
long standing as can be pleaded in favour of this kind of 
sacrifice, is, perhaps, of superior weight as an authority, 
than any positive law, where no absolute prohibition can be 
shown."f *' I should consider," says the magistrate of Zil- 
lah Behar, Dec. 1818, ** the prohibition by law of a cere- 
mony which is encouraged by the shastra as an infringe- 
ment of that system of complete toleration in matters of re- 
ligion declared to be a fundamental principle of the British 
Government in India.":J: That this custom is ancient can- 
not be denied, but probably its antiquity has been overrated. 
Menu makes no mention of Suttee, and among the numer- 
ous Hindoo authors whose names are mentioned by Muton- 
joy, the pundit of the Supreme court in his Bewasta respect- 
ing the Suttee, this great legislator is not named.§ 

J. Adam, Esq., secretary to the gov.emor-general, in 
Oct. 1817, referring to the regulations respecting the Sut- 
tee, observed — ** It is trusted they will have a beneficial in- 
fluence, by lessening a sense of obligation under which there 
is reason to believe many are induced to make this sacrifice 
of their lives, and showing that the practice is far from be- 
ing inculcated a^ such by the most approved authorities of 
the-*Hindoo law.'^m 

*' I look upon this inhuman custom," says C. M. Lush- 
ington, Esq., magistrate of Trichinopoly, ** as one tolerated 
to the disgrace of the British Government ; it is ever abo^ 
minated by the better sort of natives themselves^ and no 
where is it enjoined by Hindoo law. The authorities 
against self-immolation are Menu, Bhooraspattee, and seve- 
red others. The weight of authority is in favour of a rigid 
practice of austerities, because it is that prescribed by Menu, 
revered by the Hindoos as the first and greatest law of au- 
thority. Custom can only be legally upheld wh^n it does 

* Par. Papers, vol. v. p. 31 . f ^^^ 1827. . 

. J Par. Papers, vol. i. p. 240. § p. 119. 

II Digest of Hindoo Law ; Text, Par. Papers, vol. i. p. 147. 


100 India s Cries to 

uot militate against law ; * consuetudo pro lege servaiorj 
will only extend to cases where no specific law exists. In 
the present instance there is a specific law, sanctioned by 
Menu, in direct opposition to authorities of inlerior weight. 
I apprehend, the obvious absurdity of the law (exempting * 
Brahmuns from death) and the impossibility of reconciling it 
with our notions of justice induced its abolition. If, then, 
a law can be repealed from its inconsonancy,with reason, 
the same arguments exist in a stronger degree against an 
inhuman, barbarous, and unjust custom."* 

From the numerous extracts given of the sentiments of 
the great majority of the European functionaries of Govern- 
ment in India, and even of the natives, when writing in de- 
fence of the practice, it appears evident that the Suttee is 
not an integral part of the religion of the Hindoos, but a 
cruel rite, subversive of its principles and of the natural dic- 
tates of humanity. 

A second objection to its abolition is, the rite being sup- 
posed a voluntary act, and an attempt to suppress it cal- 
culated to increase its reputation^ That these unhappy 
women are frequently involuntary sacrifices to this horrid 
custom numerous facts abundantly testify. The dispatch, 
hurry, and confusion, by which the rite is characterised, are 
opposed to the cahn exercise of mind requisite in a volun- 
tary sufibrer. The husband frequently dies in the morning, 
sometimes at noon, and, before the evening shades are 
closed, the dreadful rite is consummated. Where delay is 
occasioned, the woman not unfrequently takes stupifying 
and intoxicating drugs, and remains without food, generally 
sitting near the body. In the instance witnessed by'^he 
author the woman appeared so stupid that one of the func- 
tionaries of Government declared her intoxicated. Her 
husband died that morning at day-break, and she was burnt 
in the evening. " No fair judgment," says L. Warner, 
Esq., magistrate of 24 Pergunnahs, Calcutta, in 1818, ''can 
be passed upon a person non compos mentis, assenting to 
the performance of this act ; for can a person be called ac- 
tually in a sound state of mind under the agitation of grief? 
Would a person's deposition, under this state of mind, be re- 
ceived in a court of justice in a cause where life and death are 
at stake ?"t " The act," says C. M. Lushington, Esq., Ma- 
gistrate at Trichinopoly, " I apprehend is always voluntary, 

• Par. Papers, vol. ii. p. 103, 104. Vol. v. p. 4. t Vol. i. p. 147. 

Briiiih Hamctnitf/' 101 

provided a being in a state of stupefaction and delusion can 
be said to possess the power of volition ! ! "* A magistrate 
at Bhooj, Guzerat, in Oct. 1819, writes, — " There has 
been only one instance of a woman desiring to bum herself 
in onr district, in Cutch, since 1816. In that instance I 
proceeded to her house ; and, as she appeared firm in her 
resolution, I could only persuade her to delay the ceremony 
for a few days, promising that at the expiration of that time, 
if she persisted in her wish, she should meet with no hin- 
drance. As might be expected, twenty-four hours pro* 
duced a total change ! Instead of the hysterical grief with 
which she was affected, tears came to her relief, and she de- 
clared her resolution not to burn. Her friends were very 
anxious that she should be dissuaded from buming/'f 

On the latter part of this very common objection it is stated, 
in the late Bishop Heber's Journal, — " Some members of 
Government conceive that the likeliest method to make 
the custom more popular than it is, would be to forbid 
it, and make it a point of honour with the natives: and that, 
if we desire to convert the Hindoos, we must above all 
things be careful to keep Government entirely out of sight 
in cdl the means which we employ, and to be even, if pos- 
sible, over scrupulous in not meddling with or impeding 
those customs which, however horrid, are become sacred in 
their estimation ; and are only to be destroyed by convincing 
and changing the public mind." — (Vol. i. p. 58.) To this 
it may be replied — the experience of the British Govern- 
ment in India for the last fifty years is directly opposed to 
these sentiments. Have not the Hindoo and Mahomedan 
laws been changed in several important parts — cruel ordeals 
abolished — infanticide at Saugur and Guzerat suppressed — 
the Brahmun, though esteemed an incarnation of Brumha, 
every year executed, like the degraded Soodra, &c. ? 
Have the absurd, cruel, and sanguinary customs thus sup- 
pressed been held in higher estimation by the people — or 
the popularity of the Government decreased.^ Bishop 
Heber here gives the opinions of others ; his own opinion 
we have in the following words ; — "All these stories (respect- 
ing the Suttee, dhurua, and burying alive of lepers) have 
made a very painful impression on me. If I live to return 
to Calcutta, it is possible that, by conversation with such of 
my friends as have influence, and by the help of what addi- 

* Par. Papers, vol. i. p. 239. Vol. v. p. 26. f vol. i. p. 260. 

103 Indians Cries to 

tionai knowledge I may have acquired^ I may obtain a re- 
medy for some of them."* 

A third objection is, that its dholition might promote 
disaffection in the Native army and insurrection in the 
country. This objection has been well met by Sir C. 
Forbes, on the discussion of the subject of Suttees, Mar. 
1827 : — '' If the British Government," says this eloquent 
gentleman, ** did all in their power to put down this prac- 
tice, it would soon disappear. They could not view it in 
any other light but as a horrible rite that ought not to be 
tolerated; and in his opinion it might be put down, and 
could be put down, without delay and without danger/' 

" He was sorry to hear, on a question of this kind, insi- 
nuations thrown out, that, if an attempt were made to 
remove this evil, it would be attended with danger from 
the army. He viewed such insinuations as a libel on that 
army. He had no doubt that the army of India would 
rather feel themselves called on to support all just and 
lawful commands issued by the Government, for putting 
down such abominable rites. He would ask, did they ever 
hear of one sacrifice in a British camp in India ? Never ; 
and he would contend that the suppression of this practice 
did not involve the feelings of the native army in India. 
They every day heard of Brahmuns brought to punish- 
ment for different crimes. If, on their behalf, an ap- 
peal was made to the army, they would at once be told, 
* You do not deserve to be aSvSisted; you may thank your 
own crimes for your punishment.' Why should not their 
native army, who were just in other affairs, be just also 
with reference to this ? For his own part he had not the 
least apprehension of their tried fidelity."-t' 

" It has been said that the point which appeared to be 
of more importance and delicacy than any other, — the pro- 
bable efifect of our interference on our native army, had not 
been touched on in any of the opinions given by the Go- 
vernment abroad. It was very true that the judges, ma- 
gistrates, residents, collectors, and all the various persons 
he had quoted, never touched on such an argument; and 
they had abstained from doing so, because such an idea 
never entered their minds. Living, as they did, in the 
country, and having every opportunity for observing the 
conduct of the army, it was wholly impossible that they 

• Journal, vol. i. p. 269. f Asiat. Journ. May, 1829. 

British Humanity. ^ 103 

coujd anticipate danger. * The time bad been/ said Mr. 
Burke, * when 10,000 swords would have leaped from their 
scabbards to avenge a threatening look against a royal 
female ;' and were they to suppose that their whole army 
would be weak and wicked enough simultaneously to un- 
sheath their swords for the very opposite purpose P Would 
that army array itself against the British power, because 
that power humanely attempted to prevent mothers and 
sisters (persons united to this very soldiery by the ties of 
blood) from sacrificing themselves on the funeral pile."* 

The late J. H. Harington, Esq., refers to this subject, and 
states: — ** The register has, at my request, carefully exa- 
mined the Suttee reports for 1823 (the first in which the 
possessions of the deceased husband has been generally 
stated), and can find only one instance of a native soU 
dier*$ wife having sacrificed herself in the year. The 
case occurred in the district of Shahabad, which furnishes 
many recruits to our native army; but in Bengal and 
Orissa, where so large a proportion of the total number of 
Suttees annually take place, very few of our sepoys are 
raised, insomuch that I have good reason to believe, on 
inquiry, that there are not at present in our whole regular 
army (gun Lascars excepted) above 1000 men who are 
natives of those provinces.f (Feb. 1825.) The fallacy of 
this objection appears very evident. 

Another objection to the suppression of these atrocities 
is the supposition that we are hound by treaty not to in- 
terfere in the abolition, of this custom. The Marquis 
Wellesley, in 1805, stated the principles of our Govern- 
ment in India: — •* It is," said the Governor General, " one 
of the fundamental maxims of the British Government to 
consult the religious opinions, customs, and prejudices of 
the natives in all cases in which it has been practicable, 
consistently tmth the principles of morality, reason, and 
humanity. ^^ Locke very justly observes, "No opinions 
contrary to human society, or to those moral rules which 
are necessary to the preservation of civil society, are to be 
tolerated by the magistrate.'* Upon this principle is the 
letter of Lord Wellesley and his council founded, — a prin- 
ciple only to be shaken when the elements of society shall 

* Asiat. Journ. May, 1827, p. 703. See also Jackson's Speech, as 
above, p. 23—25. 

f Par. Papers^ rol. ? . p. 47. 

104 Indians Cries to 

sustain an overthrow, but not before ; for according to the 
principle of all natural law, and of our own in particular, 
^^ Jura naty/r<B immutahilia swniP The letter recognizes 
the amplest toleration, so far as is consistent with '' the 
principles of morality, reason, and humanity,'' but no 
further; Imd it affords a complete answer to all those 
who argue that we cannot act as we are required, because 
we have made a treaty or compact with India, to respect 
her religion. 1 contend we are not bound hand and 
foot by any supposed compact, which is at variance with 
principles as old as the creation, and the obligation of 
which principles had force long antecedent even to the 
moral law. " When," says Colonel Walker, " the custom 
and rites of any people are harmless, whatever form they 
assume, and from whatever source they may be derived, 
they are entitled to toleration and protection; but they 
ought to be punished or amended, when their evident 
tendency is to diminish population, and to alienate the 
natural affections of mankind."* To the same effect are 
the remarks of the late C. Grant, Esq., in 1793, see Par* 
Papers, vol. v. p. 88. 

" Neglecty'' by some, " is thought better than imme- 
diate abolition^ and the annihilation of the pra>ctice by 
the progress of knowledge and establishment of Chris- 
tianity preferable to coercionr To this it may be replied, 
in the language of Dr. Johnson, — '' He that voluntarily 
continues in ignorance is guilty of all the crimes which 
ignorance produces ; as to him that should extinguish the 
tapers of a light^house might justly be imputed the calami- 
ties of shipwreck. Christianity is the highest perfection of 
humanity ; and, as no man is good but as he wishes the 
good of others; no man can be good, in the highest degree, 
who wishes not to others the largest measure of the greatest 
good. To omit for a year or a day the most efficacious 
method of advancing Christianity (and consequently the 
amelioration of society), in compliance with any purpose 
that terminates on this side the grave, is a crime of which 
1 know not that the world has an example, except in the 
planters of America, a race of mortals whom I suppose no 
other man wishes to resemble."t ** The argument that we 
may ultimately look for the cure of this evil in the gradual 

* Foynder's Speech, p. 14, 15. 
f Cormack*s Infanticide, p. 343. 

British HumunUy. 105 

increase of intelligeDce, which is beginning to develope 
itself in India, might have some weight, if the progress of 
intelligence were of a more accelerated character than 
circumstances allow us to suppose, or if the immediate 
abolition of the rite were not proved to be both safe and 
practicable. But, this fact once satisfactorily established, to 
delay the enjoyment of an acknowledged good, because at 
some future time we anticipate its attainment by the ope- 
ration of other causes, — what is this but to procrastinate a 
happiness already within our reach, and to be justly re- 
sponsible for all the misery of the intervening period of a 
long and criminal delay?''** 

W hat shall arouse British humanity, magnanimity, justice, 
and piety, to abolish without delay the bloody rite of Sut- 
tee ? Behold the magnitude of the eviL The official re- 
turns of the widows buried or burnt alive in the Bengal 
Presidency, from 1816 to 1826, inclusive, were 7154, which 
with the returns from the other Presidencies of Madras and 
Bombay, where the custom is much less frequent than in 
Bengal, would amount to 7789. (p. 13.) Here is a sacrifice 
in twelve years, to the Moloch of superstition in India, be- 
fore whom Britain is seen to tremble, and her arm become 
nerveless in the protection of the unhappy widow. Oh 
Britain, I blush for thee ! Will it be believed a century 
hence that, " We the British people — the advocates of 
every thing humane — the natural opponents of every thing 
cruel and oppressive — we the protectors of innocence, the 
avengers of wrong ! that we the British people sanctioned 
by our own authority this diabolical custom ! nay, that we 
went further ; for hy our neglect we permitted the practice, 
in many cases which, even according to the barbarous 
doctrines of the shastra itself, were illegal ! Was it pos- 
sible that tne Court would not make some effort to wipe out 
this stain upon our country V* (Jackson's Speech, p. 13.) 
How injurious must be our influence upon the tributary, 
allied, and independent princes, in whose territories this 
most unnatural custom exists ?+ Are there a thousand 

* Grimshawe's Appeal on behalf of Hindoo Widows, p. 26, 28. 

f *' By accounts lately received from the Hill country twenty-eight 
females were burnt mth the remains of one of the Rajahs ; there appear 
to have been two other women who escaped ; one was pregnant, the 
other resisted all importunity to be burnt. How can we expect that 
these horrid practices will cease among the neighbouring heathen princes, 
while they are countenanced by the British Government !" Proceedingi 

106 India's Cries to 

widows aanuaUy sacrificed io British India? how many 
thousands must have perished since the rise of the British 
power after the decisive battle of Plassey in 1756.* Seventy 
/Aoii«anrf widows thus cruelly murdered! ''Murder most 
foul, strange, and unnatural." What a tragic history would 
a comple detail of these burnings make ! imagination fails 
in attempting to describe the horrors of these ravages of 
superstition ; the mind recoils from the subject : but as the 
philaathropic Wilberforce pleaded for India in the British 
Parliament, in 18i3: — ''True humanity does not consist 
in a squeamish ear, but in a humane heart ; it consists in 
feeling for the miseries of our fellow creatures and en- 
deavouring to put an end to them — not in turning away 
from the view of them, or denying their existence when 
they are feelingly stated." 

The responsibility of Britain to exert her influence in 
aholishing this practice should he seriously considered. 
Britain delays to speak the decisive word that shall save 
ten thousand widows from death, but (how important the 
inquiry !) " On whom tvill the blood of the many thousand 
victims that are destined to perish be visited ? This is a 
solemn question, before which we may well pause and 
weigh ^1 the present and the future consequences. It 
cannot be dissembled, that the charge of guilt attaches pri- 
marily to the Government of India, who are the conscious 
spectators of the act, and, possessing the means, are yet de- 
terred from employing those means for its suppression. It 
next attaches to the British Government at home, who 
acquiesce in the motives that influence this reluctance. 

of Manchester Meeting for the Abolition of Suttees, May, 1827. ** Gene- 
ral Bheem Syre's eldest nephew, Vizier Singh, arrived at Nepal in No- 
vember, and died on the 3d of December. The following day the body 
was burned and along with it two of his wives and three slave girls / the 
latter had not the honour of being burned on the same pile, but had one to 
themselves. The brother of the deceased, with his nephew in his arms, 
lighted the funeral fires— such being the custom ! Suttees are tiot unfre- 
quent in the valley, A curious one took place some months ago, of a 
woman burning herself with her seducer, who had been killed by her 
husband. So much for religious ordinances T* Cal. John Bull, Jan. 19, 

* It is a &ct worthy of being generally known, as demonstrating even 
in the infancy of British power in the East, the practicability and success 
of humane exertions on behalf of Hindoos, that, Mr. Job Carnock, who 
founded Calcutta, in 1694, rescued a native woman from the funeral 
pile^ and made her his wife. Ought not Calcutta thus founded iu mercy 
to promulgate the law which shall abolish the Suttee ? 

British Humanity. 107 

And finally, the whole British people become parties to 
this moral guilty if, knowing as tbey do, the existence of 
the crime, they do not consider themselves pledged to use 
all lawful means for abolishing a rite, derogatory to the 
British character, forming an anomaly in the administration 
of civil law, and involving a flagrant breach of the law of 
God.'*^ May those in whose hands are the lives of these 
myriads of helpless females, " accounted as sheep for the 
slaughter," and the destinies of the millions of Hindostan, 
consider the impressive language of the Word of God : " If 
thou forbear to deliver them that are drawn unto death and 
ready to be slain : if thou sayest, behold we knew it not ; 
doth not He that pondereth the heart consider I and He 
that keepeth thy soul doth not He know? and shall not 
He render to man according to his works V' Prov. xxiv. 
11, 12. 

The general expression of public opinion by petitions to 
Parliament for the abolition of the burning of imdows 
is important. The attention of the Legislature will be 
awakened and directed to the subject, and encouraged to 
act worthy of their high character. *' In an account of the 
York Meeting, for petitioning Parliament on the subject of 
the Immolation of Hindoo widows, held in Jan. 1827," it is 
stated, " the importance of petitioning Parliament will be 
duly appreciated, when it is understood that the late Mar- 
quis of Hastings said he would at once have put down the 
atrocious practice, if he could have relied upon the popular 
feeling being in his favour in our own country, and that 

ENGLAND !'* — ^Why has not Britain long since removed 
this unaccountable suspicion of her abhorrence of shedding 
innocent blood ? Let the inhabitants of Great Britain and 
Ireland speak, and supplicate, that no more of these horrid 
murders defile our country. And shall this cause want advo*- 
cates in the British Senate? "Every question brought before 
a British House of Parliament seems to require, to a certain 
degree, to be supported and urged by some distinguished 
advocate, and blessings be upon the head of him who shall 
step boldly forward in this cause. Let some glorious Hero 
come forward to this voluntary martyrdom, and like another 
Curtius plunge, if necessary, into the gulf of personal de- 
struction for the general good ! But no, he will invest his 

* GriiD8hawe*8 Appeal, p. 20, 26, 


India's Cries to 

brow with immortal laurels ! a million of mothers and 
motber^s sons will celebrate his name; the records of history 
will perpetuate it; but above all God and his own con- 
science will approve his efforts ! Still, we venture to pre- 
dict, whether with or without a popular advocate, in con- 
currence with or in defiance oi' political parties and pre- 
judices, the deed will be done ! There is a voice that must 
be heard, that will require it, — the voice of an enlightened 
and Christian people : — a voice that will be heard by the 
Parliament and the Prince : that voice (Oh, let it be loud 
and solemn !) must, we are confident, awaken a power and 
move an arm that, sooner or later, will extinguish the Suttee 
fires of Jndia!"* 

Bedford, in 1823, a^d Crail, near Edinburgh, in 1825, 
took the lead in this work of justice and mercy. In the 
year 1827 the author heard of petitions to Parliament rela- 
tive to this object from 


East Retford 


Sutton Ashfield 














Derby a 



In the two succeeding Sessions less public attention ap- 
pears to be dhrected to this subject, as fewer petitions were 
presented. ** We are astonished (says a writer in the 
Evangelical Magazine, Aug., 1828) that Britain, so justly 
famed for humanity, does not more powerfully plead for the 
widow, and that petitions more numerous than those against 
the sacramental test do not flow into Parliament from all 
quarters." Sincethe important discussions on the Suttee, 
in the Court of Proprietors, in March, 1827, the subject 
has been brought forward again, but little progress appears 
to be made. R. Jackson, Esq., in a letter to the author, 
in Oct., 1828, declares — "With regard to the Suttee ques- 
tion, I believe I expressed to you, some time back, my 
despair of any material alteration for many years to 
C(yme I unless the religious part of the public shall come 
forward in a manner so decided as to induce attention from 
His Majesty's Government, and from the House of Com- 
mons. They seem ignorant, notwithstanding the Papers 
printed by Parliament, and other publications, that the 
average of these murders has been for many years from 

* See Review of « India's Cries," 1st edit., in The World, July, 29, 1829. 

British Humanity. 109 

Jbrty tojlftyper month// I fear litle more can be done in 
the General Court." When will the friends of humanity 
and religion, in a manner becoming the importance of the 
object, ** plead for the widow,'' and thus deliver the land 
•• from blood guiltiness ?" 

The following petition, which may serve as a specimen, 
was adopted at a very respectable meeting at Manches- 
ter : — 

To the Right Honourable the Lords Spiritual and Temporal of the 
United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland, in Parliament as- 

The humble Petition of the Inhabitants of Manchester and its Vi- 
cinity, adopted at la Public Meeting, convened by the Borough* 
reeve and Constables of Manchester, and held in the Town Hall, 
on the 9diof May, 1827. 

Showeth, — ^That yonr Petitioners have learned with the greatest regret 
that the Burning of Widows with the dead Bodies of their Husbands, and 
other customs by which human life is wantonly sacrificed, continue to be 
practised in various parts of British India, with undiminished frequency, 
in gross violation of the Law of God, and of the rights and feelings of 

That it further appears to your Petitioners that the existing regulations 
of the Suttee, circulated by the Bengal Governnjf nt, in one thousand 
eight hundred and fifteen, have rather tended to increase than to di- 
minish the number of human sacrifices, it being understood by the Na- 
tives, that by those regulations the sanction of the ruling power is now 
added to the recommendation of the shastra. 

That it appears from documents submitted to your Right Honourable 
House, and since laid before the public, that the practice of Burning 
Hindoo Women alive, if prohibited by Government, might be effectually 
suppressed, without any ground for apprehension of evil consequences. 

l^at your Petitioners deeply impressed with the obligation of the In- 
habitants of Britain to promote the civilization and improvement of 
their fellow-subjects in India, as expressed by a resolution of your Right 
Honourable House, in the year one thousand eight hundred and thirteen, 
most earnestly implore your Right Honourable House to adopt such 
measures as may be deemed most expedient and effectual for the sup- 
pression of customs so abhorrent from the British character, and so op- 
posed to the welfare of our Indian possessions, and thus to remove the 
stigma which at present attaches to our national character, and relieve the 
Inhabitants of British India from this cruel scourge. 

And your Petitioners will ever pray. 

A similar one was presented to the Hon. House of Com- 

The degraded state of India is most apparent, (md tJte 
consequent duty of Britain to promote its melioration and 
evangelization. Its Suttees, Infanticides, Pilgrimages, 
swinging festivals, murder of the sick by the Ganges, in- 

110 India's Cries to 

nQmerabie destructive austerities, show that as it respects 
its intellectual and moral condition the people are *' sit- 
ting in darkness and the region of the shadow of death." 
The appalling description of Job appears almost literally 
applicable to it : — " A land of darkness, as darkness itself; 
and of the shadow of death, without any order, and where 
the light is as darkness.'' Job, x. 22. Bible, Missionary, 
and Education Societies are dispelling the darkness. 

" The day has broke which never more shall close." 

The author has seen a Bengalee Christian and a Preacher, 
who, when a boy, set fire to the pile that consumed the body 
of his father and his living mother to ashes ! Behold the tri- 
umph of Christianity. In humble dependence on the Divine 
blessing, let means adequate to the great work of the illu- 
mination of India and the East be applied, and all the atrocity 
of heathenism — ^its idols — its temples, will ere long be seen 
no more. Let the friends of humanity and religion prose- 
cute their arduous work ; for their ** labour is not in vain 
in the Lord," 

It is not unfrequeiitly asked by some — Has not Britain 
formed a connexion with India, and agreed to govern it 
upon such terms as to admit the perpetration of these 
evils? Does not such a contract with Lidia exist? The 
late C. Grant, Esq., in his " Observations on the state of 
Society among the Asiatic Subjects of Great Britain," 
written in 1792, and submitted to the Hon. Court of Di- 
rectors in 1797, thus answers these enquiries: — *' Are we 
bound for ever to preserve all the enormities in the Hindoo 
system ? Have we become the guardians of every mon- 
strous principle and practice which it contains? Are we 
pledged to support for all generations by the authority of 
our Government, and the power of our arnts, the miseries 
which ignorance and knavery have so long entailed upon a 
large portion of the human race ? Is this the part which 
a free, a humane, and an enlightened people, a nation itself 
professing principles diametrically opposite to those in 
question, has engaged to act towards its own subjects. It 
would be too absurd to maintain that any engagement of 
this kind exists ; — that Great Britain is under any obligation, 
direct or implied, to uphold errors and usages, gross and 
fundamentally subversive of the first principles of reason^ 
moralityy and religion. In Hindostany mothers of famt" 
lies are taken from the midst of their children^ who have 

Briiiih Humanity > 111 

just lost their father also, and by a most diabolical com- 
plication of farce and fraud are driven into the flames ! 
Shall we be in all time to come as we have hitherto been, 
passive spectators of this unnatural wickedness ?* In the 
suppression of infanticide at Saugur ; sitting Dhurua ; ex- 
empting Brahmuns from the penalty of the law, &c., we 
have acted according to just sentiments, and the abolition 
of Suttees may be accomplished with equal facility and 
safety. This has been shown from the concurrent testimony 
of many Europeans resident in India, and from the Natives 
themselves. The rite is not an integral part of Hindoism, 
but an abuse fostered by the ignorant, superstitious, and un- 
principled. It is the evident and imperious duty of Britain 
to spread her protecting shield over these defenceless 
widows and orphans. 

" Who that sees Great Britain yet upon her throne, 
after a conflict in which she has survived the united assaults 
of the European nations, and has equally triumphed over the 
arts and arms of her oriental enemies — who that beholds her 
• sitting as a queen,' and, after having humbled the Tyrant 
of Europe and raised the nations he had oppressed, now 
legislating in peace, for her own remote empire in the East ; 
— who that beholds her enriched by commerce, and ennobled 
by conquest, will hesitate to pronounce that this is peculiarly 
the time to interpose for the deliverance of her own subjects 
from the oppression of a sanguinary superstition, and to 
prove to the world that she has herself been preserved 
amidst surrounding ruin, for no ordinary purposes.^'f And 
what are those purposes, but being the eminently honoured 
means of promoting the universal diffusion of the principles 
of that Gospel, by which the language of prophecy shall be 
fulfilled: — ** All the ends of the worid shall remember and 
turn unto the Lord : and all the kindreds of the nations shall 
worship before Thee. They shall not hurt nor destroy in 
all my holy mountain : for the earth shall be full of the 
knowledge of the Lord, as the waters cover the sea." 

* Par. Papers, vol. v. 1827, p. 33. f Poyiider's Speech, p. 214. 

112 Indiana Cries to 




What means that gloomy funeral pyre, 

On Ganges* banks its tall head raising. 
And those red gleams of murky fire, 

E'en now around its broad base blazing ? 
What mean those wild and frantic yells, 

As from a thousand throats resounding, 
With drums and trumpet's awful peals, 

From distant hills and woods rebounding ? 

Ah ! 'tis a dark and murderous deed, 

Which cruel Brahmuns there are doing, 
Weil may the heart turn sick, and bleed. 

While such a dreadful theme pursuing! 
For see ! on that detested pile, 

By her lord's corpse the widow lying. 
While Moloch, with a fiendish smile. 

Looks on, and views his victim dying. 

See how she writhes ! hark to her screams, 

As now the lurid flames enfold her ! 
But all is vain, no pity gleams 

In the stern face of one beholder I 
Her kindred stand with hearts of stone, 

Cased by the demon Superstition ; 
Hear her last agonizing groan, 

Nor heave a sigh at her condition ! 

Ye British matrons, husbands, sires. 

Your souls with soft compassion glowing, 
O ! haste to quench the horrid fires 

Whence human blood is daily flowing ! 
With your loved King and Country plead, 

Implore the Senate of your natioii. 
That British India may be freed 

From scenes of such abomination. 

And send, O ! send the Gospel fortli 

To the dark haunts of superstition I 
That they may learn a Saviour's worth, 

And find in him sin's true remission. § 
Arise, thou Sun of Righteousness ! 

On heathen lands pour forth thy splendour; 
Then love and peace their homes shall bless. 

And their steeled hearts grow soft and tender. 
Matlock Bath. Ellen. 




Introductory remarks — sketch of the early and extensive 
prevalence of Infanticide and Human Sacrifices in 
varums countries. 

The abolition of Infanticide in India has been the triumph 
•f the philanthropist and the subject of history. " Moor's 
Hindoo Infanticide" was published in 1811, and in 1815 
appeared " Cormack's Account of the Abolition of Female 
Infanticide in Guzerat, with Considerations on the question 
of promoting the Grospel in India." Through the circulation 
of these publications, the welUknown suppression of the 
destruction of children at Saugur by the Marquis of Wei- 
lesley in 1802, and the little that is known in this country 
respecting the Peninsula of Guzerat, a very general im- 
pression prevails that Infanticide is abolished in India. It 
is a painful but necessary task to remove this impression — 
to show that the evil still exists to a considerable extent, and 
to rouse the friends of humanity and religion to prosecute 
the abolition of this and every sanguinary custom in British 
India. The Parliamentary Papers on Hindoo Infanticide, 
printed by order of the Honourable House of Commons 
June 1824, and July 1828, fully substantiate the fact, that, 
notwithstanding the philanthropic and successful efforts of 
Colonel Walker and Governor Duncan to abolish this un- 
n£[tural custom, it has revived ; and that the most decisive 
measures are requisite to effect its entire and speedy abo- 
lition. When shall every cruel custom in India be abolished, 
and thus the progress of Christianity in that country be fa« 


114 India's Cries to 

ci]itated ? Let the sentiments of the eloquent Burke be 
known and considered : — " The blood of man should never 
be shed but to redeem the blood of man. It is well shed 
for our family, for our friends, for our God, for our kind. 
The rest is vanity — the rest is crime." 

*' The prevalence of Human Sacrifices, and the continu* 
ance of such in human customs in the nineteenth century of 
the Christian era, and in the British Dominions, is a fact 
deeply interesting to every philanthropic mind. The learned 
Jacob Bryant has given a comprehensive view of the na- 
ture and extent of these sacrifices in different ages and 
countries. " One would think it scarcely possible," says 
he, " that so unnatural a custom as that of human sacrifices 
could have existed in the world ; bat it is very certain that 
it not only existed, but almost universally prevailed. The 
Egyptians of old brought no victims to their temples, 
nor shed any blood at their altars. But human victims, 
and the blood of men, must here be excepted, which at one 
period they certainly offered to their gods. The Cretans 
had the same custom, and adhered to it a much longer 
time. The nations of Arabia did the same. The people 
of Duma in particular sacrificed every year a child, and 
buried it beneath an altar, which they made use of instead 
of an idol ; for they did not admit of images. The Persians 
buried people alive. Amestris, the wife of Xerxes, en- 
tombed twelve persons alive, under ground for the good of 
her soul. It would be endless to enumerate every city, or 
every province, where these practices obtained. The 
Cyprians, the Rhodians, the Phoecians, those of Chios, 
Lesbos, Tenedos, all had human sacrifices. The natives 
of the Tauric Chersonesius offered to Diana every stranger 
whom chance threw upon their coasts. Hence arose that 
just expostulation in Euripides, upon the inconsistency of 
the proceeding wherein much good reasoning is implied. 
Iphigenia wonders, as the goddess delighted in the blood 
of men, that every villain and murderer should be privileged 
to escape ; nay be driven from the threshold of the temple ; 
whereas, if an honest man chanced to stray thither, he was 
seized and put to death. The Pelasgi in a time of scarcity 
vowed that they would give the tenth of all that should 
he horn to them for a sacrifice, in order to procure plenty ! 
Aristomenes, the Messenian, slew three hundred noble 
Lacedemonians, among whom was Theopompus, the king 
of Sparta, at the altar of Jupiter, at Ithome; without doubt 

British Humanity. 115 

the Lacedemoniatis did not fail to make ample returns^ for 
they were a severe and revengeful people, and offered the 
like victims to Mars. Their festival of the Deamastigosis 
is well known, when the Spartan boys were whipped, in 
tile sight of dieir parents, with such severity before the 
altar of Diana Orthia that they often expired under the 
torture. Phylarchus affirms, as he is quoted by Porphyry, 
that of old every Grecian state made it a rule, before they 
marched towards an enemy, to solicit a blessing on their 
undertakings by the sacrifice of human victims. 

"The Komaus were accustomed to the like sacrifices. 
They devoted themselves to the infernal gods, and con- 
strained others to submit to the same horrid doom. Hence 
we read in Titus livius that in the consulate of Omilius 
Paulus and Terentius Yarro, two Gauls, a man and woman, 
and two in like manner of Greece, were buried alive at 
Rome, in the ox-market, where was a place under ground 
walled round to receive them, which had before been made 
use of for such cruel purposes. He says it was a sacrifice 
not properly Roinan, that is, not originally of Roman in- 
stitution, yet it was frequently practised there, and that too 
by public authority! Plutarch makes mention of a like 
instance a few years before in the consulship of Flaminius 
and Furius. There is reason to think that all the principal 
captives who graced the triumphs of the Ramans were, at 
the close of that cruel pageantry, put to death at the altar 
of Jupiter Capitoiinus ! Caius Marius offered up his own 
daughter for a victim to the Dii Aversunce, to profcure 
success in a battle against the Cimbri, as we are informed 
by Dorotheus, quoted by Clemens ; it is likewise attested 
by Plutarch, who says her name was Calpurnia. Cicero, 
making mention of this custom being common in Gaul, 
adds, that it prevailed among that people even at the time 
he was speaking; whence we may be led to infer that 
it was then diiiicantinued among the Romans ; and we are 
told by Pliny that it had then and not very long been dis- 
couraged. There was a law enacted, when Lentulus and 
Crassus were consuls, so late as the 6S7th year of Rome, that 
there should be no more human sacrifices ; for till that time 
these horrid rites had been celebrated in open day, without 
any mask or control, which, had we not the best evidence 
for ike fact, would appear scarcely credible. And, however 
discontinued they may have been for a time, we find that 
they were again renewed, though they became not so public, 

I 2 

116 India's Cries to 

nor so general ; for, not very long after this, it is reported 
of Augustus Csesar, when Persia surrendered in the''time of 
the second triumvirate, that besides multitudes executed in 
a military manner, he offered up upon the Ides ofM^ch 
three hundred chosen person^^ both of the equestrian and 
senatorian order, at an altar dedicated to the manes of his 
uncle Julius. Even at Rome itself this custom was re- 
vived ; and Porphyry assures us that in his time a man was 
every year sacrificed at the shrine of Jupiter Latiaris. He- 
liogabalns offered the like victims to the Syrian deity, which 
he introduced among the Romans. The same is said of 

" The Gauls and the Germans were so devoted to this 
shocking custom that no business of any moment was trans- 
acted among them without being prefaced by the blood of 
men. They were offered to various gods, but particularly 
to Hesus, Taranis, and Shautates. These deities are men- 
tioned by Lucan, where he enumerates the various nations 
who followed the fortunes of Csesar. The altars of thqse 
gods were far removed from the common resort of men, be- 
ing generally situated in the depth of woods, that the gloom 
might add to the horror of the operation, and give a reve- 
rence to the place and proceeding. The persons devoted 
were led thither by the Druids, who presided at the solem- 
nity, and performed the cruel oflSces of the sacrifice. Ta- 
citus takes notice of the cruelty of the Hermunduri in a 
war with the Catti, wherein they had greatly the advantages, 
at the close of which they made one general sacrifice of all 
that were taken in battle. The poor remains of the legions 
under Varrus suffered, in some degree, the same fate. 
There were many places destined for this purpose all over 
Gaul and Germany, but especially in the mighty woods of 
Arduenna, and the greater Hercinian forest, a wild that ex- 
tended above thirty days' journey in length. The places 
set apart for this solemnity were held in the utmost re- 
verence, and on]y approached at particular seasons. Lucan 
mentions a grove of this sort near Masselea, which even 

* " In Homer and Virgil, we have accounts of human sacrifices, com- 
municated in such [^ way as indicates no abhorrence in the poet, and 
was meant to inspire none on the part of the reader. Caesar informs us 
that it was a prevalent maxim among the Gauls, that the deity could not 
be appeased unless the life of one man, which had been forfeited by 
guilt, were atoned by the life of another who was innocent.'* (De Bel. 
Gal. L. vi. c. 15.) , 

BritiMh Humanity. 117 

the Roman soldiers were afraid to violate, though com- 
manded by Caesar. Claudian compliments Stillico that, 
among other advantages accruing to the Roman armies 
through his conduct, they could now venture into the awful 
forest of Hercinia, and follow the chase in those so much 
dreaded woods, and otherwise make use of them. 

" These practices prevailed among all the people of the 
North, of whatever denomination. The Massageta, the 
Scythians, the Getes, the Sarmatians, all the various nations 
upon the Baltic, particularly the Suevi and Scandinavians, 
held it as a fixed principle that their happiness and security 
could not be obtained but at the expense of the lives of 
others. Their chief gods were Thor and Woden, whom 
they thought they could never sufficiently glut with blood. 
They had many celebrated places of worship, especially in 
the island of Kugen, near the mouth of the Oder, and in 
Zealand. Some, too, very famous among the Sumnones 
and Nahanvalli. But the most reverenced, and the most 
frequented, was at Upsal, where there was every year a 
grand celebrity, which continued for nine days* During 
this term they sacrificed animals of all sorts, but the most 
acceptable victims, and the most numerous, were men I 

** Of these sacrifices none were esteemed so auspicious 
and salutary as a sacrifice of the prince of the country. 
When the lot fell for the king to die it was received with 
universal acclamations and every expression of joy; this 
once happened in the time of a famine, when they cast lots, 
and it fell to the king Domalder to be the people's victim, 
and he was accordingly put to death. Olaus Triliger, another 
prince, was burnt alive to Woden. They did not spare 
their own children! Harold, the son of Gunild, the first 
of that name, slew two of his children to obtain a storm of 
wind. * He did not let,' says Verstegan, * to sacrifice two 
of his sons unto these idols, to the end he might obtain such 
a tempest at sea as should break and disperse the shipping 
of Harold, king of Denmark.' Saxo Grammaticus men- 
tions alike fact; he calls the king Haquin, and speaks of 
the persons put to death as two hopeful young princes. 
Another king slew nine sons in order to prolong his own 
life, in hopes, probably, that what they were abridged of 
would, in a great measure, be added to himself; such in- 
stances did not often occur ; but the common victims were 
very numerous. Adam Bremensis, speaking of the awful 
grove of Upsal, where these horrid rites were celebrated, 
says, that there was not a single tree but what was rev©* 

118 India*s Cri$s to 

renced. as if it were gifted with some portion of diTioity. 
And all this because tney were stained with gore, and fonl 
with human putrefaction ! The same is observed by Schef- 
fer in his account of this place. 

'* The nuinner in which the victinis were slaughtered was 
diverse in deferent places. Some of the Gaulish nations 
ehined them with the stroke of an axe. The Celts placed 
the man who was to be offered for a sacrifice upon a block 
or an altar, with his breast upwards, and with a sword struck 
him forcibly across the sternum ; then, tumbling him to the 
ground, from his agonies and conyulsions, as well as from 
the efiusion of blood, they formed a judgment of future 
events. The Cimbri rippeid open the bowels, and from them 
they pretended to divine. In Norway they beat men's 
brains out with an ox-yoke. The same operation was per- 
formed in Iceland by dashing them against an altar of stone. 
In many places they transfixed them with arrows. After 
they were dead they suspended them upon the trees, and 
left them to putrefy. One of the writers above quoted men- 
tions that in his time seventy carcases of this sort were found 
in the wood of the Suevi ! Dithmar, of Mursburgh, an 
author of nearly the same age, speaks of a place called 
Sedu, in Zealand, where there were every year ninety and 
nine persons sacrificed to the god Swantowite. During 
these bloody festivals a general joy prevailed, and banquets 
were most royally served. They fed, and gave a loose to 
indulgence, which at other times was not permitted ! 

" They imagined that there was something mysterious in 
the number nine, for which reason these feasts were in some 
places celebrated every ninth year, in others every ninth 
month, and continued for nine days; when all was ended 
they washed the image of the deity in a pool, on account, 
it is supposed, of its being stained with blood, and then 
dismissed the assembly. Their servants were numerous, 
who attended during the term of their feasting, and partook 
of the banquet. At the close of all they were smothered in 
the same pool, or otherwise made away with I On which 
Tacitus remarks, how great an awe this circumstance must 
necessarily infuse into those who were not admitted to these 
mysteries. These accounts are handed down from a va- 
riety of authors, in different ages. Many of whom were 
natives of the countries which they describe, and to which 
they seem strongly attached. They would not, there-* 
fore, have brought so foul an imputation t>n the part of 
the world of which each were writing; nor could there 

British Humanity. 119 

be that concamnce of testimony were not the history in 
general true. 

** The like ciistom prerailed in a great degree in Mexico, 
and even under the mild government of the Peruvians, 
and in most parts of America. In Africa it is still kept up, 
where, in the inland parts, they sacrifice some of the cap- 
tives taken in war to their fetiches, in order to secure their 
favour. Snelgrave was in the king of Dahoomi's camp, 
after hb inroad into the countries of Adra and Whidaw, 
and was a witness to the cruelty of this prince, whom he 
saw sacrifice multitudes to the deity of his nation. The 
sacrifices, if we except some few instances, consisted of 
persons doomed by the chance of war, or assigned by lot to 
be ofiered. But, among the nations of Canaan, the victims 
were peculiarly chosen. Their own children, and whatever 
was nearest and dearest to them, were deemed the most 
worthy ofiering to their god. 

** The Carthaginians, a colony from Tyre, carried with 
them the religion of their mother country, and instituted the 
same worship in the parts where they settled. It consisted 
in the adoration of several deities, but particularly ci 
Kronus ; to whom they ofiered human sacrifices, and espe* 
cially the blood of children ! If the parents were not at 
band to make an immediate ofier, the magistrates did not 
fail to make choice of what was most fair and promising, 
that the god might not be defrauded of bis dues ! Upon a 
check being received in Sicily, and some other alarming 
circuisstanoes happening, HamUcar, without any hesitation, 
laid hold of a boy and ofiered him on the spot to Kronus, 
and at the same time drowned a number of priests to ap- 
pease the deity of the sea. The Carthaginians, upon a 
great defeat of their army by Agathocles, imputed the mis- 
carriage to the anger of this god, whose services had been 
neglected. Touched with Ihis, and seeing the enemy at 
their gates, they seized at once two hundred children of 
the chief nobility^ and offered them in public for a sacri- 
fice. Three hwndred persons^ who were somehow obnoxi- 
ous, offered themselves voluntarily, and were put to death 
with the others! The neglect of which they accused them- 
selves, consisted in sacrificing children purchased of parents 
among the poorer sort, who reared them for that purpose ! 
and not selecting the mostpromising and the most honour* 
able, as had been die custom of old. In short, there wire 
particular children brought up for the altar, as sheep are 

120 India's Crm io 

fattened for the shambles; and they were bf ought and 
butchered in the same manner ; but this indiscriminate way 
of proceeding was thought to have given offence. It is 
remarkable that the Egyptians looked for the most hand- 
some person to be sacrificed. The Albanians pitched upon 
the best man of the community, and made him pay for the 
wickedness of the rest. The Carthaginians chose what they 
thought the most excellent, and at the same time most dear 
to them, which made the lot fall heavy upon their children* 
This is taken notice of by Silius Italhis in his fourth book. 
Kronus, to whom those sacrifices were exhilnted, was an 
oriental deity, the god of light and fire; and therefore 
always worshipped with some reference to that element. 
The Carthaginians first introduced him into Africa ; he was 
the same as the Orus of the Egyptians, and the Alorns of 
the eastern nations. 

'' He was universally adored in Cyprus, but particularlji^ 
in this part, which Porphyry supposes to have been Salainis. 
This deity was the Moloch of the Tyrians and Canaanite^, 
and the Melech of the east; that is, the great and princi- 
pal god, the god of light, of whom fire was esteemed a 
s}rmbol ; and at whose shrine, instead of viler victims, they 
offered the blood of men. 

'' Such was the Kronus of the Greeks, and the Molocb 
of the Phoenicians, and nothing can appear more shocking 
than the sacrifices of the Tyrians and Carthaginians which 
they performed to the idol. In all emergencies of state, 
and times of general calamity, they devoted that which was 
most necessary and valuable to them for an offering to the 
gods, particularly to Moloch. Besides these undetermined 
times of bloodshed, they had particular and prescribed sea- 
sons every year, when children were chosen out of the most 
noble and reputable families. If a person had an only 
child, it was the more liable to be put to death, as being es- 
teemed more acceptable to the deity, and more efiBcacious 
of the general good. Those who were sacrificed to Kronus 
were thrown into the arms of a molten idol which stood in 
the midst of a large fire, and was red with heat. The 
arms of it were stretched out with the hands turned up- 
wards, as it were to receive them, yet sloping downwards, 
so that they dropt from thence into a glowing furnace 
below. To other gods they were otherwise slaughtered^ 
and, as it is implied, by the very hands of their parents. 
What can be more horrid to the imagination than to sup- 

British Hwiuittity. 131 

pose a father leading the dearest of all his sons to snch an 
infernal shrine? Or a mother, the most engaging and 
affectionate of her daughters, just rising to maturity, to be 
slaughtered at the altar of Ashtaroth, or Baal? Justin 
describes this unnatural custom very pathetically. Snch 
was their blind zeal, that this was continually practised, 
and so much of natural affection still left unextinguished, 
as to render the scene ten times more shocking from the 
tenderness which they seemed to express. They embraced 
their children with great fondness, and encouraged them in 
the gentlest terms that they might not be appalled at the 
sight of the hellish process; begging of them to submit 
with cheerfulness to thisfearfu] operation. If there was 
any appearance of a tear rising, or a cry unawares escap- 
ing, the mother smothered it with her kisses, that there 
might not be any show of backwardness or constraint, but 
that the whole might be a free-will offering ! These cruel 
endearments over, they stabbed them to the heart, or 
otherwise opened the sluices of life, and with the blood, 
warm as it ran, besmeared the altar and the grim visage of 
the idol. These were the customs which the Israelites 
learned of the people of Canaan, and for which they are 
upbraided by the Psalmist : ' They did not destroy the na- 
tions concerning whom the Lord commanded them, but 
were mingled among the heathen, and learned their works ; 
yea, they sacrificed their sons and their daughters unto 
devils, and shed innocent blood, even the blood of their 
sons and of their daughters, whom they sacrificed unto the 
idols of Canaan, and the land was polluted with blood : 
thus were they defiled with their own works, and went a 
whoring with their own inventions.' 

''These cruel rites, practised in so many nations, made 
Plutarch debate with himself, * Whether it would not have 
been better for the Galato, or for the Scythians, to have 
had no tradition or conception of any superior beings, than 
to have formed to themselves notions of gods who delighted 
in the blood of men ; — of gods who esteemed human vic- 
tims the most acceptable and perfect sacrifice ? Would it 
not,' says he, • have been more eligible for the Cartha- 
ginians to have had the atheist Critias, or Diagoras, their 
lawgiver at the commencement of their polity, and to have 
been taught that there was neither God nor demon, than 
to have sacrificed in the manner they were wont to the god 
which they adored ? Wherein they acted not as the per- 

i22 Indi0ks Cries to 

SOD did wbom Empedocles describes in some poetry, where 
he exposes this unnatural custom. The father, with many 
idle vows, offers up unwillingly his son for a sacrifice, but 
the youth was so changed in feature and figure that his 
father did not know him* These people used wilfully to go 
through this bloody work, and slaughter their own off- 
spring. Even they who were childless would not be ex- 
empted from this cursed tribute, but purchased children at 
a price, of the poorer sort, and put them to death. The 
mother who sacrificed her child stood by, without any seem<- 
ing sense of what she was losing, and without uttering a 
groan. If a sigh did by chance escape, she lost all the 
honour which she proposed to herself in the offering, and 
the child was notwithstanding slain. All the time of this 
celebrity, while the children were murdering, there was a 
noise of clarions and tambors sounding before the idol, that 
the cries and shrieks of the victims might not be heard.' 
* Tell roe,' said Plutarch, • if the monsters of old, the Ty- 
phous and the Giants, were to expel the gods, and to rule 
the world in their stead, could they require a service more 
h(»rrid than these infernal rites and sacnfices.' "* 

" Mr. Bryant," says Colonel Walker, *' does not appear 
to be aware of the existence of human sacrifices among 
the Hindoos ; and it is melancholy to add to the list of 
human infirmity by citing the translation of the Rudher- 
adhyaya from the Cfdioan Puran, by Mr. Blaquiere, as an 
evidence of this barbarous rite being sanctioned by the 
Hindoo Legislature. It was not only enjoined, but in the 
ancient rites of the Hindoos was frequently practised, 
under the denomination of Mer Med, or Wud, the sacrifice 
of a man. There is at this day a numerous class of Brah* 
muns who are accused of this practiee. They are called 
Kurrada, and are inhabitants of the Gonkan. The object 
of their wordbip is Maha Lukshmee, to i^om human sacri* 
fices are acceptable ; and the more so if the victim is a 
Brahmun, learned in the shastras. 

*' The public performance of this sacrifice has long since 
fallen into disuse ; but a sect of the Kurrada Brahmuns are 
accused of effecting, by the secret operation of poison, 
that object which they dsure not avow. * I know several 
Kurrada Brahmuns in respectable public situations, intel*- 

* Annual Register, vol. x. 1767. Paf. Papers on Hindoo Infim- 
ticide, June 1824, p. 53-— 58. 

British Htmanity. 188 

ligeQt, charitable, and bamane, who would abhor Ihe com- 
mission of this detestable crime^ and who, though they 
admit the former existence, most strongly deny its present 
practice; but the power of prejudice is sometimes stronger 
than the most complete evidence of moral conduct; and 
many people, under the influence of this passion, would 
decline to eat of food prepared by a Brahmun of this tribe, 
of which he himself should not at the same time par- 

" However shocking," says the late Rev. W. Ward, "it 
may be, it is generally reported among the natives, that 
human sajcrifices are to this day offered in some pieties in 
Bengal. At a village called Ksl^eru, near the town of 
Burdwan, it is positively affirmed that human sacrifices are 
still ofiered to the goddess Yoogadya, a form of Doorga ; 
at Kireetukona, near Moorshed^bad, to Kalee; and at 
many other places. The discovery of these murders in the 
name of religion is made by finding the bodies with the 
heads cut off near these images ; and, though no one ac- 
knowledges the act, yet the natives well know that these 
people have been offered in sacrifice. About seven years 
ago, at the village of Serampore, near Gutwa, before the 
temple of the goddess Tara, a human body was found 
without a head ; and in the inside of the temple different 
offerings, as ornaments, food, flowers, spirituous liquors, 
&c. AH who saw it knew that a human victim had been 
slaughtered in the night; and search was made after the 
murderers, but in vain. At Brumha-neetula, near Nu<- 
deeya, is an image of Munusa, before which the worship 
of Doorga is performed. It is currently reported, that at 
this place human victims are occasionally offered as deca- 
pitated bodies are found there. Ram*naut Vachuspntee, 
the second Sunskrit pundit in the College of Fort William, 
assured me that about the year 1770, at the village of Sqo- 
murat near Gooptipara, be saw the head of a man, with a 
lamp placed on it, lying in the temple before the image of 
the goddess Sidheshwuree, and the body Iving in the road 
opposite the temple. A similar fact is related respecting 
an image of Bhurga-Bheema at Tumlook, where a deca- 
pitated body was found. At Chit-poor, and at Kalee- 
ghaut, near Calcutta, it is said that human sacrifices have 

* Par. Papers on Hindoo Infanticide, 1824, p. 52. On this subject 
see Asiatic Journal, May 1823^!p. 680. 

124 India'M Cries to 

been occasionally offered. A respectable native assared 
me that at Chit-poor, near the image of Chittreshwuree, 
about the year 1788, a decapitated body was found ; which, 
in the opinion of the spectators, had been evidently offered 
on the preceding night to this goddess. 

The following story respecting Rajah Krishnu-chundru- 
ray is believed by many respectable natives of Bengal : 
— A Bramhucharee of Kritukona, after repeating the name 
of his guardian deity for a long time, till he had established 
a great name as a religious devotee, at length had a dream, 
in which he supposed that his guardian deity told him to 
make a number of offerings to her, which he understood 
to mean human sacrifices ; and that then she would become 
visible to him, and grant him all his desires. He was now 
very much perplexed about obtaining the necessary ^vic- 
tims; and, as the only resource, he applied to Krishnu- 
chundru-ray, and promised that, if he would supply the 
victims, he should share in the benefits to be derived from 
this great act of holiness ! The Rajah consented to this, 
and built a house in the midst of a large plain, where he 
placed this brumhucharee ; and directed some chosen ser- 
vants to seize persons of such and such a description, and 
forward them to the brumhucharee. This was done for a 
considerable time (some say for two or three years), till at 
length the brumhucharee became weak and emaciated 
through the perpetration of so many murders ; and the 
Rajah began to suspect that there must be some mistake in 
the btisiness I He consulted a learned man or two near 
him, who declared that the brumhucharee had very likely 
mistaken the words spoken to him in his dream ; for that 
these words might mean simple offerings of food, &c. A 
thousand victims are said to have been thus butchered."* 

* View of the Hindoos, vol. ii. pp. 49 — 52. The late Bishop Heber 
having visited a temple at Umeer, in Jeypore, observes, " The guide told 
us in our way back that the tradition was that in ancient times, a man 
fvai sacrificed here every day; that the custom had been laid aside till 
Jye Singh had a frightful dream, in which the destroying power ap- 
peared to him, and asked him why her image was suffered to be dry ? 
The Raja, afraid to disobey, and reluctant to fulfil the requisition to its 
ancient extent of horror, took counsel and substituted a goat for the human 
victim, with which the 

^' Dark goddess of the azure flood, 

Whose robes are wet with infant tears, 
ScuU-chaplet wearer, whom the blood 

Of man delights three thousand years, 
Was pleased to be contented.*' 

Briiuh Humanity. 12S 

The Prelimincpry Discourse of Sale's Koran (p. 174} 
affords infonnation of the existence of these sacrifices in 
Arabia. '' The law of Mahomed put a stop to the inhuman 
custom which had been long practised by Pagan Arabs, of 
burying their daughters alive, lest they should be reduced 
to poverty by providing for them, or else to avoid the 
displeasure and disgrace which would follow, if they should 
be made captives, or become scandalous by their behaviour ; 
the birth of a daughter being, for these reasons, reckoned a 
great misfortune, and the death of one as great a happiness ! 
The manner of their doing this is differently related: — some 
say that, when an Arab had a daughter bom, if he intended 
to bring her up, he sent her clothed in a garment of wool 
or hair, to keep camels or sheep in the desert ; but, if he 
designed to put her to death, he let her live till she became 
six years old, and then said to her mother, * Perfume her 
and adorn her, that I may carry her to her mothers /' 
which being done, the father led her to a well, or a pit dug 
for that purpose, and, having bid her to look down into it, 
pushed her in headlong as he stood behind; and then, filling 
up the pit, levelled it with the rest of the ground. But 
others say that, when a woman was ready to fall in labour, 
they dug a pit, on the brink whereof she was to be delivered ; 
and, if the child happened to be a daughter, they threw it 
into^he pit; but if a son they saved it alive. This custom, 
though not observed by all the Arabs in general, was yet 
very common among several of their tribes ; and particu- 
larly those of Koreith and Kendeh; the former using to 
bury their daughters alive in Mount Abu Dalama, near 
Mecca. In the time of ignorance, while they used this 
method to get rid of their daughters, Sasaa, grandfather to 
the celebrated poet Al Farazdak, firequently redeemed 
female children from death, giving for every one two she- 
camels big with young, and a he-camel ; and hereto Al Fa- 
razdak alluded, when, vaunting himself before one of the 
Kalifs of the family of Meya, he said, * I am the son of the 
giver of life to the deadf For which expression, being 

^ It is not generally known that persons now alive remember human 
sacrifices in the holy places near Calcutta. A very respectable man of 
my acquaintance, himself by accident, and without the means of inter- 
fering, witneued one of a [hoy of fourteen or fifteen, in which nothing 
was Bo terrible as the perfect indifference with which |[the tears, prayers, 
and caresses, which the poor victim lavished, even on his murderers, 
were regarded/' Journ. vol. ii. p. 150. 315. 

138 India't Cries to 

censored, he excused himself by alleging the words of the 
Koran, ' He who saved a soid klive shall be as if he had 
saved the lires of all mankind.' The Arabs, in murdering 
their children^ were far from being singular, the practice of 
exposing infants and putting them to death being so common 
amonff the ancients, that it is remarked as a thing very ex« . 
traordinary in the Egyptians that they brought up all their 
children ; and by the laws of Lycurgns no child was allowed 
to be brought up without the approbation of public officers. 
At this day, it is said, in China the poorer sort of people 
frequently put their children, the females especially, to death 
with impunity."* 

Colonel Walker, in a highly interesting document repect- 
ing Infanticide, of considerable length, addressed to the 
Bombay Government, Marcb^ 1808, states upon this sub- 
ject,—" However extraordinary the practice of Female In- 
fanticide among the Jahreja Rajpoots may appear, it is not 
confined to the Jahrqas. The practice of female Infanti- 
cide prevails with the Rajkoomars and other tribes in 
BengaL The custom of putting theit infant daughters to 
death has also been discovered to exist with the Rhatore 
Rajpoots of Jeypore and Jhoodpoor; but this fact, when re- 

forted in Europe, was doubted and denied to be possible, 
t is confirmed, however, by every intelligent and well 
informed native of that country ; nor does there appear any 
ground whatever for questioning its existence. The exist- 
tence of the custom is traced to other tribes of Hindostan, 
and in particular to the Jauts and Mewats, which latter are 
a sect of Mussulmans. It would be interesting to trace 
and develope the bws and customs of the most distinguished 
people of antiquity which sanctioned Infanticide. If we 
except the fabulous history of the Amazons, I am not aware 
thfitt we have any account of a positive law or custom for 
the regular and invariable destruction of children of either 
sex. The Amazons are said to have formed 'a state from 
which they excluded men. They held a commerce only 
with strangers, and for the purpose merely of having 
daughters. They killed their male children, and cut off 
the right breast of their females, to render them more fit for 
war. The method of the ancients in exposing their children 
was a very genei^ practice, and they do not appear to have 
coumdered it as either cruel or barbarous. Romulus is said 

* Par. Papers, as above, pp. 58, 59. 

British Humanity, 127 

to have laid the citiaens under an obligation to edneate ali 
their male children, and the eldest if their daughters/ 
The requiring of this obligation from the citizens must have 
been suggested by the necessity 0/ restraining the practice 
of Infanticide ; and Romolos probably trusted in procuring 
^ves for hiis males from the other tribes in his neighbour- 
hood, with as little difficulty as the Jahrejas do at present 

** Montesqaieu proves that the same motives prevailed 
with the Roman fatiiers for exposing their children as with 
the nations of India, who Commit Infanticide. ' We find 
not any Roman law that pero^itted the exposing of clnl- 
dren. This was, without doubt, an abuse introduced to- 
wards the decline of the Republic, when luxury robbed 
them of their freedom ; when wedth divided was called 
poverty; when the father believed all was lost which he 
gave to his family and when the family was distinct from his 
property/ It appears that infants newly bom were placed 
on the ground: those who were agreeable to the father he 
took up, or educated ; but those who were displeasing to 
him he neglected and exposed^ In Greece, Infanticide, 
or the exposure of children, appears to have formed a pert 
of the policy of those states. Solon gave permission by the 
law to parents to kill their children I Aristotle appears an 
advocate for the exposing of children ; and conceives, where 
this is not the case, that the number of those brought forth 
ought to be limited. He proposes expedients for this pur- 
pose more barbarous than any usage of the Jahrejas ! The 
Greeks appear to have been led to expose their ofRapring 
from the sterility of their territory, and die apprehension of 
want, excited by a redundant population. The same motive, 
arising from a fear of famine, has induced the g^^ernment 
of China, if not to permit, at least to tolerate, parents to 
sell and expose their children. 

'' In Robertson's history of Amerioa we are informed that 
the difficulty of training up an infant to maturity, amidst 
the hardships of savage life, often stifles the voice of nature 
among the Americans, and suppresses the strong emotions 
of parental tenderness. Some of these women are stated, 
in particular, to destroy their female children in their in- 
fancy. At Otaheite, and other islands of the Pacific, a 
peculiar society exists who destroy their children;* and 

* This has been happily abolished: see Ellis's Tour in Hawaii, pp. 
303—305. The Rev. Mr. Knott, a missionary in the South Sea Islands, 

128 India's Crits to 

other nations in a rade state have been found, who do not 
suffer those to live who are bom with any natural defect or 
deformity. However disgusting it may be to human na- 
ture^we find that many nations have tolerated or permitted 
parents to destroy their own offspring, and we are certain 
that parents have deprived their children of life by availing 
themselves of this privilege ; but the custom of exclusively 
murdering females (although the regulations of Romulus 
evidently point to their destruction in preference to that of 
the males), and a systematical If^anticide, seem to be con- 
fined to the Rafpoots of India"* 

** The missionaries in New Zealand had repeatedly 
heard that female infanticide was practised among its in- 
habitants ; and one day in August, 1824, the melancholy 
fact was confirmed by a chief, who a short time previously 
had saved his own child from this fate, out of the hands of 
its inhuman mother ! She had twice attempted to put it to 
death soon after it was born. The brethren entered into a 
free conversation with the natives on the subject, and they 
spoke of it with pleasure rather than otherwise, and referred 
them to several of the most respectable females with whom 
they were acquainted, who had thus destroyed their children. 
The manner of putting them to death is, by what they call 
ro-«itea, or squeezing Uie nose, as soon as they are born ; 
then the hypocritical mother cuts herself with shells, and 
makes a great outcry about her dead child. The reasons 
which they assigned for this practice were two : — ^The first, 
and perhaps the principal one, was that they were no good 
to them in war; for they would only shout and make a 
noise, but not fight. The other w^, that where the offspring 
is numerous, they make the mother too much work, &c., 
therefore she kills the girls, but saves the boys. We en- 
deavoured to show them the impolicy and wickedness of 
such proceedings, telling them that it was murder, in the 
sight of God ; but they said it was not, it was only ro-mea^ or 
iqueezing the nose. Oh when will the bright rays of the 
gospel chase away their gloom» and deliver them from their 


** The Jahrejas,'' says Colonel Walker in a letter to the . 

stated that a female presented to him a child, and said that it was in- 
debted to him for its life : she had had/ve children and murdered them all! 

* Par. Papers, vol. i. p. 44, 45. 

f Smith's History of Missions, vol. ii. p. 748. 

British Humanity* 129 

Court of Directors in Augvsf, 1819, *' are awaore that the 
custom of Infanticide is followed by other tribes besides 
their own. Although we hare not discovered the motive 
that has led so many people to adopt this unnatural and 
remarkable cnsijom, it is probably am<Hig them all to be 
ascribed to the same event, and to the same origin. The 
sacrifice is confined, it would appear, to females, and to 
Rajpoots, or such as claim their descent from that military 
race. Among a people devoted to war, and peculiarly ex- 
posed to danger, the rearing of their daughters may often 
have been an object of great difficulty, and in some situa- 
tions they may have proved an impediment to the profes- 
sion of arms. They may therefore have made this sacrifice 
on some emergency, to their convenience and even to 
their safety ; or, if we choose to ascribe it to a dreadful 
superstition very prevalent in ancient times, as the means 
of appeasing the wrath or of propitiating the favour of the 
gods. We are told that the ancient nations assigned this 
as their reason for having recourse to similar sacrifices : 
* They thought nothing,' says Polybius, * sordid or dis- 
honourable that is employed in that design/ The senate 
of Carthage proposed to sacrifice the infant son of Hannibal, 
. after he had gained the battles of Teeinus and Trebia. 

TVe may assume it is an unquestionable fact^ that the 
existence of female Infanticide prevails to a greater ex- 
tent in India than has yet come under the observation of 
the British Government. The knowledge of this fact 
would, until lately, have been productive of little more than 
to gratify a melancholy and speculative curiosity. It might 
have added to the list of those offences which are contrary ' 
to the common course of nature, without affording an op- 
portunity of correcting this particular departure from duty 
and affection. The case is now very much altered ; and 
the same inquiry at this moment might be attended, not 
merely with the discovery of the existence of the fact, but 
enable us, by the means we possess at present, to suppress 
every where this revolting crime within the region cf Hin- 
dostan. Many of the Districts in which the practice is 
supposed to prevail have either fallen under the influence 
or the actual Government of Great Britain. Many of those 
people are become our subjects, and we are bound in 
duty, as well as honou/r, to reclaim them from the reproach 
of killing tJieir own children / I am certain that the Com- 
pany's Government requires no other excitement nor en- 


180 India's Cries to 

couragement for undertakiug this humane work, than wonkl 
result from the probability of their success."* 

Who does not blush for the degradation and depravity 
of human nature ? In civilized countries these well au^ 
thenticated statements appear almost beyond credibility ; 
but the ancient prevalence of buman sacrifices may dispose 
the reader to receive with painful credence the affecting 
accounts of the present state of Infanticide in India con- 
tained in this book. 


Infanticide in India. — Origin — nature — crime^^extent — ► 
present state — demoralizing influence. 

Infanticide appears principally to exist at the present 
period in India and China. Of its prevalence in China a 
Missionary writes : — "A man came to me for medicine, with 
whom I conversed awhile privately. I asked him how long 
he had left China, and whether he ever thought upon his 
family there ? He said he frequently thought on them, and 
intended next year to return and visit them, for he had 
three sons, and one daughter who was married. • I had an- 
other daughter,' he added, 'but I did not bring her up,* ' Not 
bring her up,* said I ; ' what then did you do with her?* / I 
smothered her,' said he. ' This year also, I heard by let- 
ter, that another daughter was born : I sent word to have 
that smothered also, but the mother has preserved her 
alive.' I was shocked at this speech ; and still more at 
the indifference with which he uttered it. ' What !' said 
I, ' murder your own children ! Do you not shudder at 
such an act?' * Oh no,' said he; 'it is a very common 
thing in China ; we put the female children out of the way 
to save the trouble of bringing them up: some people 

* Par. Papers, 1824, p. 127, 128. For farther information upon this 
subject, see Grotius^ de Satisjfi Christi, c. x. Dr. J. Owen, de Nat, 
Vera TheoL c. \n\. p. 33 — 41. Magee^s work on Atonement and Sttcri- 
Jice, Dis. v. p, 3. 

British Humanity. 131 

have smothered five or six daughters !' My horror was in- 
creased by his continued ind^erence, and the lightness 
with which such crimes are perpetrated in China with im- 
punity. What an awful view does this present of the 
^ Celestial Empire, loaded with crime, deluged with blood, 
and ripe for destruction ! " 

Of the internal state of China, little is known in Europe, 
but the paramount influence of Great Britain in Hindostan, 
renders the subject, under discussion, peculiarly interesting 
in this country. 

** The people in some parts of India,'' says the late Rev. 
W. Ward, ** particularly the inhabitants of Orissa, and of 
the eastern parts of Bengal, frequently oflTer their children 
to the goddess Gunga. The following reason is assigned for 
this practice : — When a woman has been long married, and 
has no children, it is common for the man, or his wife, or 
both of them, to make a vow to the goddess Gunga, that, if 
she will bestow the blessing of children upon them, they 
will devote the first-bom to her. If after this vow they 
have children, the eldest is nourished till a proper age, 
which may be three, four, or more years, according to cir- 
cumstances, when, on a particular day appointed for bathing 
in any holy part of the river, they take the child with them, 
and offer it to this goddess : the child is encouraged to go 
farther and farther into the water till it is carried away by 
the stream, or is pushed off by its inhuman parents. Some- 
times a stranger seizes the child, and brings it up ; but it is 
abandoned by its parents from the moment it floats in the 
water, and, if no one be found more humane than they, it 
infallibly perishes ! The principal places in Bengal where 
this species of murder is practised are, Gunga, Saugur, 
where the river Hooghly disembogues itself into the sea ; 
Voidyuvatee, a town about fourteen miles to the north of 
Calcutta; Trivinee, Nudeeya, Chakduh, and Prayag or 

*' The following shocking custom appears to prevail 
principally in the northern Districts of Bengal. If an in- 
fant refuse the mother's breast, and decline in health, it is 
said to be under the influence of some malignant spirit. 
Such a child is sometimes put into a basket, and hung up in 
a tree where the evil spirit is supposed to reside. It is 

* See the proceedings of the British Government with regard to In- 
fanticide at these places in the latter part of this book. 


134 Indians Cries to 

dren were born ; and as, among the Hindoos, it is incam- 
bent to provide husbands for their daughters whilst they are 
in their non-age, the Jahreja chieftain applied accordingly 
to his family Brahmun to pursue the necessary measures 
for getting the said female children contracted in marriage 
with the sons of his equals in the tribe, and of like valovrr 
and power. The Brahmun, after making every inquiry, 
and going about to every place in quest of suitable matches 
for these children, returned without effecting his object; 
reporting it to the chieftain that, although he had exerted 
all his endeavours to find proper alliances for his female 
children, still he had not traced anjr one who was of com- 
petent qualifications to be his son-in-law : wherefore (said 
the Brahmun), since to retain these, your female offspring, 
in the family house, after their arriving at the age of woman- 
hood, is contrary to the rules of religion, I will take them 
with me, and will bum them in the fire, on condition that it 
be stipulated on your part, to destroy, at their birth, all issue 
of the same sex that shall be born in your family. I now 
lay my solemn malediction, both here and hereafter, on you 
and yours, if you fail to perform the same ; in such manner, 
that, if you shall preserve any of your future daughters, 
they shall pass their lives in penury and want; nor shall 
good attend the father or mother of such children. It is 
further reported that the Brahmun took away those in- 
nocent girls, and consumed them in the flames ; and that, in 
conformity to the stipulation and denunciation aforesaid, 
the people of the Jahreja tribes, dwelling in the country of 
Cutch, and in the Pergunnahs of Hallar, and other places 
within the Peninsula of Guzerat, have to the present day 
continued to adhere to the practice in question ; whereby, 
whenever a daughter is born, they put these helpless babes, 
without compassion, to death ; without allowing their sur- 
viving for the shortest space." 

Being interrogated respecting Adeeba, the daughter of 
Ralakjee, former Bajah of Cutch, who was married to one 
of the Guicowar Rajahs, he replied, — " It is true Adeeba 
is still surviving at Booj, the capital of Cutch, yet there are 
but few exceptions, such as in this instance, to the general 
rule, because, from the effect of the malediction pronounced, 
no good ensues from their preservation ; insomuch that 
if any daughters of this tribe get married into other houses, 
the grain in such houses becomes less plentiful ; nor do such 
women produce sons, but are the occasion of feuds arising 

British Humanity. 135 

in the families into which they are thus transplanted! 
Throughout all the country of Cutch there may be six or 
eight houses wherein the Jahreja masters of families bring 
up their daughters ; or otherwise, the practice is general ; 
and, besides what happens within the limits of that country, 
the Jahreja chieftains of Moorvee, Goondul, and Jamnagur, 
in the Peninsula of Guzerat, also kill their female infants. 
Those who occasionally preserve their daughters are in- 
duced by the consideration of thereby acquiring the merit 
of having sons born to them ; as, for instance, whena man 
has a succession of female children in his family, he will, at 
the suggestion of any one, be induced to believe that, by 
bringing them up, sons wiU also be born to him; whence 
chiefly Jahreja daughters are sometimes met with, of whom 
there is within my recollection another instance, in the case 
of the Roe chieftain of Cutch, by name Vijrajee, who has 
married a daughter of his to the son of Attabye, the Rajah 
of Bhownaguth ; that lady may now be about twenty or 
twenty-two years of age, but I h^ve not heard that she has 
yet had any male issue, but that, on the contrary, her hus- 
band and she do not agree,"* 

Colonel Walker endeavours to account for the rise of 
this singular practice as follows:—" Befpre I proceed 
to detail its progress and circumstances, I shall endeavour 
to ascertain the origin and history of a practice, the n^ost 
barbarous that ever owed its existence either to the wick- 
edness or weakness of human nature. The early customs 
and history of every people are obscure and fabulous. The 
Hindoos, with a facility proportionate to their credulity, 
generally ascribe their peculiar institutions to a divine ori- 
gin: and, by connecting their observance with religious 
duties, they have passed inviolate through many ages. 
This, probably more than any other cause, has maintained 
that great distinction which is evident between the Hindoos 
and other nations, and also between their own castes. 
When the customs or rites of any people are harmless, 
whatever form they assume, and from whatever source they 
may he derived, they are entitled to toleration and protec- 
tion ; but they ought to be punished or amended when 
their evident tendency is to diminish population^ and to 
alienate the natural affections of mankind. Of this de- 
scription is the custom of female Infanticide, which prevails 
among the tribe of Rajputes, denominated Jahrejas. The 

* Par. Papers, 1824, p. 23. 

196 Indians Cries to 

traditionary and legendary accounts of the Hindoos, although 
sometimes ingenious, are often the extravagant fictions of 
a rude and superstitious people ; but the oral accounts of 
the atrocious custom of Infanticide are comprised in a 
simple narrative, and exhibit under a slight disguise a re- 
mote historical event. 

" The Jahrejas relate that a powerful Rajah of their 
caste, who had a daughter of singular beauty and accom- 
plishments, desired his rajgor, or family Brahmun, to affi- 
ance her to a prince of desert and rank equal to her own. 
The rajgor travelled over many countries without discover- 
ing a chief who possessed the requisite qualities ; for, where 
wealth and power were combined, personal accomplish- 
ments and virtue were defective ; in like manner, where 
the advantages of the mind and the body were united, those 
of fortune and rank were wanting. The rajgor returned 
and reported to the prince that his mission had not proved 
successfuL This intelligence gave the Rajah much concern, 
as the Hindoos reckon it to be the first duty of parents to 
provide suitable husbands for their daughters ; and it is 
reproachful that they should pass the age of puberty with- 
out having been afiianced, and under the necessity of living 
in a state of celibacy. The Rajah, however, strongly re- 
probated every match for his daughter which he conceived 
inferior to her high rank and perfection. In this dilemma 
the Rajah consulted his rajgor, and he advised him to avoid 
the disgrace which would attend the princess's remaining 
unmarried, by having recourse to the desperate expedient 
of putting his daughter to death. The Rajah was long 
averse to this expedient, and remonstrated against the mur- 
der of a woman, which, enormous as it is represented in the 
shastras, would be aggravated when committed on his own 
offspring. The rajgor at length removed the Rajah's scru- 
ples by consenting to load himself with the guilt, and to 
become in his own person responsible for all the conse- 
quences of the sin. Accordingly the princess was put 
to death, and female Infanticide was from that time prac- 
tised by the Jahrejas. From this narrative curiosity receives 
little gratification. It resembles the tales of infancy, rather 
than the grave history of a transaction involving the fate of 
a numerous portion of the human race. This, however, 
comprises all the information which the Jahrejas possess of 
the origin of a custom so contrary to the dictates of nature, 
and which is justifiable on no plea, as it gratifies no reason- 
able passion. Notwithstanding this unsatisfactory account 

Brituh Humanity. 137 

of the origin of Infanticide, many absurd institutions like 
this are dependent less on reason than on particular cir^- 
cumstances, which in the course of many ages, give them 
importance and influence."* 

** I have met with an account of Infanticide/' the Co- 
lonel further observes, ** which ascribes its origin to a cir- 
cumstance more probable than the disappointment felt by 
the Rajah at not finding a suitable match for his daughter. 
It is said that one of the early Mussalman invaders of the 
Jahrejas* country, who experienced the determination with 
which thev defended their liberties, united policy to arms, 
and sought to consolidate their interests in the country, 
by demanding the daughters of the Rajahs in marriage. 
The high-spirited J^rejas would not brook the disgrace, 
and pretended they did not preserve their daughters ; but, 
fearful of the consequences, and that force would be re- 
sorted to in order to obtain what was refused to entreaty, 
they listened to the advice of their Rajgors in this extre- 
mity, and, deluded by the fictitious responsibility which they 
accepted, the practice of Infanticide originated, and has 
since been confirmed. In consistency witik this relation is 
an account which I have heard of one of the Rajahs of 
Noanuggur, whose daughter was demanded in marriage by 
the Emperor of Delhi, and which also throws some light 
upon the doubtful point, whether a grown-up daughter is 
ever put to death. It appears that although much dis- 
credit would attach to a Jehreja who killed his daughter, 
after having preserved her for any time, yet that such oc- 
currences, however unfrequent, are not without precedent. 
In some period of the history of the Jahrejas, it is said 
that one of the Jams was despoiled of his country by the 
king of Delhi, who promised to restore it, provided Jam 
gave him a daughter, whom he had preserved, in marriage. 
This must have been a legitimate daughter, as Jam dis- 
dainfully rejected the alliance, and transmitted his refusal 
through the governor of Ahmedabad, who was the medium 
of the proposal on the part of his sovereign. After some 
time was|given to reflection. Jam was counselled by his 
friends apparently to comply and to depart for Delhi, ac- 
companied by his daughter ; when he might evade the dis- 
grace, save his honoiu*, and recover his country, by putting 
his daughter to death, and give out that she died of sick- 

* Par. Papers on Infan., 1824, p. 31, 32. 

138 India's Cries to 

ness or fatigue during the journey. The plan was put into 
execution, and this conduct does not appear to have re- 
ceived the disapprobation of the caste ; probably it was 

The nature of Infanticide, or the jnanner in which the 
horrid practice is perpetrated, like its origin, is involved 
in considerable obscurity. J. Duncan, Esq., Resident at 
Benares, in 1789, in his enquiries upon the subject, was 
informed that the Rajkoomars '' killed their infant daugh- 
ters, or allowed them to die, by denying them all susten- 
ance from their birth.^'f The same gentleman, when Go- 
vernor of Bombay, in a conversation with Gajra Bye, 
daughter of one of the Guicowar Princes, of Guzerat, in 
February, 1804, incidentally ascertained the existence of 
Infanticide in Cutch. On enquiry from Captain Seton, 
stationed at Mandavee, it was stated, — " The custom men- 
tioned in Gajra Bye's relation is in force to this day. Every 
female infant born in the Rajah's family, if of a Ranne or 
lawful wife, is immediately dropped into a hole dug in the 
earth and filled with milk, where it is drowned.''^ 

** Curiosity," says Colonel Walker, " will naturally be 
excited to learn the methods observed in committing these 
Infanticides ; and whether they were attended by any com- 
punction and ceremony. The common expressions for 
Infanticide are " Deekree Marne ne CAa/,'7or "the custom 
of killing daughters ;" and " Naree Deekree Marne ne 
Chal,"' or "the custom of killing young daughters." In 
conversation, and in discussing the subject with the Jah- 
rejas, the term used was " Deekree Babut," or " the 
article of girls." The subject is disgusting, and I shall 
endeavour to state briefly the result of my enquiries. Al- 
though the Jahrejas spoke freely of the custom of putting 
their daughters to death, without delicacy, and without 
pain, they were more reserved on the mode of their execu- 
tion, and appeared at first unwilling to be questioned on the 
subject. They usually replied that it was an affair of the 
women ; it belonged to the nursery, and made no part of 
the business of the men. They at last threw ofi* this re- 

"The following is the translation of a memorandum from 
Wassonjee Eswarjee, a Nagur Brahmun, who attended the 
camp in the quality of Vakeel from the Gondul Chief. 

^ * Par. Papers, p. 53, 53. t P- 7- t P- 20. 

British Humanity. 139 

' When the wives of the Jahreja Rajputes are delifered of 
daughters, the women, who may be with the motlier, repair 
to the oldest man in the house ; this person desires them to 
go to him who is the father of the infant, and do as he di- 
rects. On this the women go to Uie father, who desires 
them to do as is customary^ and so to inform the mother. 
The women then repair to the mother, and tell her to act 
in conformity with their usages. The mother next puts 
opium on the nipple of her breast, which the child inhaling 
with its milk, dies ! The above is one custom, and the fol- 
lowing is another : When the child is born, they place the 
navel-string on its mouth, and it expires.' From the con- 
versations of the Jahrejas, it appears that the opium is put 
into the mouth of the child ; but the mode of administering 
this drug, described by Wassongee, may have given rise to 
the opinion that the Jahrejas drown their daughters by 
throwing them, as soon as they are born, into a vessel of 
milk. From every enquiry, I could not understand that the 
Jahr^as ever put their daughters to death after this man- 
ner ; but the story may have had its origin in the idea of 
the infant's imbibing poisoned milk, or from an expression 
which is ascribed to the father, who, when the birth of a 
daughter is announced, with brutal equivocation, says to the 
attendants ' Dhood Pillana' This is but a popular story ; 
and, independently of the circumstance of few infants 
sucking immediately on their birth, the placing of opium 
on the nipple would effectually prevent it. The true man- 
ner by which the Jahrejas kill their daughters, as received 
from the chieftains of Rajkote and Jallia, is subsequently 

" If a father wishes to preserve a daughter, he previously 
apprises his wife and family, and his commands are obeyed. 
If a mother entertains a wish of preserving a daughter, and 
her husband is averse to it^ the infant must be put to death ! 
There are, however, instances where the blandishments 
and influence of the mother have succeeded in saving the 
infant, by obtaining the revocation of the decree for its de- 
structioUy but these instances of maternal solicitude are 
either unfrequent or but seldom successful. The father 
sometimes expressly orders the infant to be put to death, 
probably when he suspects some intention of the mother to 
preserve it ; but in general this sanguinary intimation is 
unnecessary ; a total silence on the part of the husband 

140 India s Cries to 

is considered to imply his unalterable resolution that the 
child, if a female, should perish / 

** To render this deed if possible more horrible, the mother 
is commonly the executioner of her own offspring ! Wo- 
men of rank may have their slaves and attendants, who 
perform this office ; but the far greater number execate it 
with their own hands. This compliance of the women 
must appear the more extraordinary, as they belong to 
castes who rear their females, and are brought up in fami- 
lies where their own existence is evidence against the un- 
natural practice : but as they are betrothed at an early age 
they imbibe the superstition of their husbands, and some of 
them appeared even as advocates for this custom. They 
have been known to pride themselves like the Jahrejas, 
and to consider their murder as an act of duty; an act 
which these females, who are mild, modest, and affectionate, 
would, if married into any other caste, hold in detestation. 
They appear to have several methods of destroying the in- 
fant, but two are prevalent. Immediately after the birth of 
a female, they put into its mouth some opium, or draw the 
umbilical cord over its face, which prevents its respiration. 
But the destruction of so young and tender a subject is not 
difficult, and it is probably effected without a struggle. 
The natural weakness of the infant, when neglected and 
left uncleaned some time, causes its death, without the ne- 
cessity of actual violence ; and sometimes it is laid on the 
ground, or on a plank, and left to expire ! These accounts 
I learned in conversation with Jahrejas, and prefer them to 
the information of the translated memorandum. The in- 
fant, after it is destroyed, is placed in a small basket en- 
tirely naked, and in this state carried out and interred. In 
Kattywar any of the female attendants of the family per- 
form this office ; but in Cutch it is done by the domestic 
Rajgor. The Rajgors who bury the infants that perish 
receive a fee of one koree, which is a coin equivalent in 
value to one-third of a rupee (about ten pence sterling), 
and a meal. In Cutch the female Rajgors are the execu- 
tioners of the infant instead of the mother, and this seems 
to approach nearer to the origin of the custom. 

" The birth of a daughter is considered by the Hindoos 
of every description as an inferior event, and they rarely 
make it the subject of congratulation ; while the birth of a 
son is celebrated with great ostentation and hilarity. It is 

British Humanity. 141 

not, therefore, surprising, that on the birth of a daughter, 
which they may have even preserved, and predetermined 
to bring up, a< Jahreja family should discover no demon- 
stration of joy. The event is allowed to pass over in si- 
lence, as if they were ashamed of it. Should any inqui- 
sitive person ask a Jahreja the result of the pregnancy of 
his wife, if it were a female, he would answer ' nothing ;* 
and this expression, in the idiom of the country, is suffi- 
ciently significant The infant is invariably put to death 
immediately on its birth^ and it would be considered a 
cruel and barbarous action to deprive it of life after it 
had been allowed to Uve a day or two. Although in- 
stances of this deliberate murder may be very rare, yet 
from the examination of a Jahreja, who was reported to 
me as having been guilty of this deed, I have reason to be- 
lieve they sometimes occur. The death of a daughter is 
generally viewed by a Jahreja as an infallible consequence 
after its birth ; and it is considered to be an event of such 
insignificance that he is seldom apprized of it ! The occur- 
rence excites neither surprise nor enquiry: and is never 
made a subject even of conversation. It is attended by no 
ceremony, and publicity is avoided. Jussajee, of Jallia, 
has had three daughters ; they were all put to death at the 
time of their birth. Jussajee attended the camp ; he is a 
man of intelligence, and served the detachment as a guide. 
His character and disposition, both for humanity and pro- 
priety, are favourable ; but he has not the least compunc- 
tion for the murder of these children, and considers the 
deed to be, in every respect, justifiable."* 

The following is the statement of Jahreja Dadajee, chief 
of Rajcote; ** Many of the Jahrejas of Cutch preserve 
their daughters, and, previous to the birth of a child, the 
father, if he wishes to preserve the child, signifies such a 
wish, and his will is invariably obeyed ; if the mother 
wishes, and the father is averse to preserve his daughter, 
it is killed ! Exceptions to this take place now and then, 
when the mother has great influence over the father. When 
the daughters are killed, they are almost invariably put to 
death immediately after their birth. On' the birth of a 
daughter, the mothers very seldom apprize the father, but put 
it to death at once. Daughters; when put to death, are al- 
ways buried in the state in which they are bom, without any 
purification, or being wrapped in any clothes. Dadajee 

* Par. Papers, 1824, p. 35—37. 

142 India s Cries to 

bas a daughter alive. He states that he e]q>ressed a wish 
to preserTe it previously to its birth. Some Jahrejas pre^ 
serve their daughters that may be bom withia the space of 
six months after the death of a chief: though this is little 
observed, it is still reckoned proper ; but he says that ava- 
rice, or other passions of the parent, make them disregard 
this practice. He says there is no uniform mode of killing 
the infants. Sometimes they terminate their life by opium, 
sometimes by placing the navel-string on their mouth and 
suffocating them. Dadajee, on being interrogated as to 
any other mode, said, in reply, ' What difficulty is there in 
blasting a flower V He observes, there is no impropriety 
in Jahrejas' preserving their daughters. Sometimes the 
mothers, if there are no female attendants, kill their infants 
themselves ; but, in general, women of station never per- 
form this unnatural office. In allusion to this subject, as 
descriptive of the motives for Infanticide, he states, that in 
Kattywar and Hallaur the rubbaries or goatherds allow 
their male kids to die when there are many of them brought 
forth ; and the charons follow the same practice with their 
male buffaloes, both being reckoned unproductive, in a 
country where little flesh is consumed, and the only profit 
which arises from these animals is from their milk !"* 

In Zillah Furruckabad, Bareilly Division, in Sep. 1806, 
a man was tried for the murder of his child. The atrocious 
act is thus described by the murderer: — *' About twenty 
days ago a daughter was born in my house, about a little 
time before sun-set. On the same day, in the evening, I, 
the deponent, on account of the ancient customs of my 
tribe of not contracting our daughters in marriage with any 
one, as well as from my ignorance of the regulations of 
justice, and the contents of the proclamation made with re- 
spect to refraining from murdering of daughters, and like- 
wise from my dwelling in the jageer, depending upon tne 
Nawab of Khurudmund Khan ; on this account I took oat 
of my house some of the juice of the Ag tree (a deadly 
poison) and caused my new-born child to drink it. At 
about ten o'clock at night my daughter expired. I was 
not acquainted with the Company's regulations, if I had, I 
should never have committed this crime : now, that I am 
acquainted with them, I will never again commit the same 
crime." He was ultimately pardoned on the ground of his 
* Par. Papers, 1824, p. 68. t Par. Papers on Infan. 1828, p. 33, 34. 

British Humanity. 148 

The crime of female murder is very great according to 
the Hindoo shastras. — ** The doctrines of the Hindoo reli- 
gion have been singularly careful to protect the female sex 
and infants from violence ; and it is unlawful to put a woman 
to death for any offence whatever. In support of this 
opinion they quote the following sloke or verse : — 

Shut gao wudhe vepra 

Shut vepra wudhe istreea 

Shut istreea wudhe bala 

Shut bala wudhe muresha. 

* To kill one Brahmun is equal to one hundred cows : 

' To kill one woman is equal to one hundred Brahmuns : 
' To kill one child is equal to one hundred women : 

* To kill one hundred children is an offence too heinous 

for comparison.' 
The crime therefore of killing a woman is considered as 
great a sin as killing a hundred Brahmuns ; and the sin of 
killing a young child of either sex is equal to killing a 
hundred women."* 

J. Duncan, Esq., while Resident at Benares procured 
a translation of an extract from a Hindoo shastra, in 
which the same sentiments are expressed. — '' Let all the 
four castes of Brahmun, Khetry, Bys, and Sooder, know 
that the killing of a woman is the greatest of crimes* The 
person guilty of such act, having gone into the nerk or 
hill called Kal Sooter, shall remain there without nourish- 
ment, and be gnawed by worms for as many years as there 
are hairs on the woman's body, and shall remain there 
always in pain and misery; and afterwards, being bom 
again in the lesser castes, shall become a leper for the same 
number of years; and thereafter, becoming of the cast of 
Sooder, shall be afflicted with the zukhma, or vomiting of 
blood. Being again born of that cast, he becomes the 
servant or valet of a Brahmun, by which he is exonerated. 
In the same Pooran it is written, that causing abortion is 
equal to killing a Brahmun. It is distinguished by the 
name of broon hettea."t How ignorant of, or inattentive 
to, their own shastras must these people be, to perpetrate 
these inhuman acts of cruel murder ! Can there be any 
impropriety in the British Government abolishing the 
Suttee, by which practice hundreds of women are annually 
murdered ? 

* Par. Papers, 1824, p. 42. f Par. Papers, 1824, pp. 7, 8. 

144 Indians Cries to 

The extent and present state of this cruel ctistom appear 
by the following extracts from the Par. Papers on Infanti- 
cide of 1824 and 1828. The Papers of 1828 contain the 
most recent account of the state of Infanticide iii the dis- 
tricts of Cutch and Cattywar, in Benares and other parts 
of the territories under the Bengal Presidency, and also 
under the Presidency of Fort St. George. The Papers of 
1824, which contain the most information, are divided into 
four parts. 

Part the first contains " Papers relating to Infan- 
ticide^ practised by the Rajkoomars^ JRajevanses, Sfc, in 
Benares and' other parts of the territories under the 
Bengal Presidency^ and in the state of Oude: 1789 to 
1820, pp. 5—16. 

Of the Rajkoomars, Rajevansees, &c., J. Duncan, Esq. 
in April, 1789 (referring to the favourable description of the 
country), observes, — '*The only very unfavourable instance 
of this kind that has come before me has happened in the 
Mehal of Juanpoor^ and its immediate dependencies, which 
comprehend the Purgunnah of Juanpoor proper. The 
small ones of Raury and Angle ; the Salt Mehal of Zuffer- 
abad; together with two distinct Talooks, called Kereeat 
Dowst and Keroeat Mhera, and the independent frontier 
Talooka, of Singramow. The people I mean to describe 
consist of at least three distinct classes, which it is my duty 
in this address to bring to the knowledge of Government, 
that they may hereafter be treated* as your Lordship in 
Council may think fit. The first class is the tribe of Raje- 
koomars, who deduce their descent from Rajah Pethawra 
(in whom about 600 years ago ended the Chowhan dynasty 
of the Princes of Delhi), and from whose stock the present 
race of the Rajkoomars (who then assumed this new family 
denomination) is believed to be sprung. It is said their 
numbers do not altogether exceed 40,000, most of whom 
inhabit, in nearly one society, the opposite line of our 
boundary, in his Excellency the Vixier's dominions; but 
unfortunately for the quiet of both countries they possess 
lands that pay about 20,000 rupees revenue in Angle and 
Rereeat Mhera, on our side. They were originally Raj- 
poots ; and even exceeded that tribe in the wildness of their 
notions, and peculiarity of their manners, scarcely owing 
any allegiance either to the Nabobs or our Government, 
and always ready to betake themselves to arms, to which 
they are inured firom infancy, either in resentment of public 

Briikh Humanity. 145 

or priTBte wrongs, real or imaginary ; at the same time, I 
am assured, they have a point of honour from which they 
do not deviate, and are famous for faithfully adhering to 
those engagements into which they are pleased to enter/'* 
Sir John Shore (now Lord Teignmouth\ in a Paper on the 
Customs and Practices of the Hindoos, has the following 
observations on the subject:— ** That the practice of In- 
fanticide should ever he so general as to become a custom 
with any sect or race of people requires the most unex- 
ceptionable evidence to gain belief; and I am sorry to say 
that the general practice, as far as regards female infants, 
is fully substantiated with respect to a particular tribe on 
the frontiers of Juanpore, a district of the province of Be- 
nares, adjoining to the eoontry of Oude. A race of Hin* 
doos, called Rajkoomars, reside here ; and it was discovered 
in 1789 only, that the custom of putting to death the female 
offspring, by causing the mothers to starve them, had long 
subsisted, and did actually then very generally prevail 
among them. The Resident at Benares, in a circuit which 
be made through the country where the Rajkoomars dwell, 
had an opportunity of autheuticatiBg the existence of the 
custom from their own confessions ; he conversed with se* 
veral ; all unequivocally admitted it, but all did not fully 
acknowledge its atrocity ; and the only reason which they 
assigQed for the inhuman practice was the great expense of 
procuring suitable matches for their daughters if they allowed 
them to grow up I It is some satisfaction to add that the 
custom, though generaU was not universal, as natural affec- 
tion, or some other motive^ had induced the fathers of some 
Rajkoomar families to bring up one or more of their female 
issue; but the instances whem more than one daughter had 
been spared were very rare! One village only furnished a 
complete exception to the general custom ; and the Raj^ 
koomar informant, who noticed it, supposed that the. inha- 
bitants had sworn, or solemnly pledged themselves to each 
other, to bring up their females; in proof of his assertion rn 
favour of the village in question, he added, that several old 
maids of the Rajkoomar tribe then actually existed there, 
and that their celibacy proceeded from the diffbnlty of pro- 
curing husbands for them, in consequence of the great ex- 
penses attending the marriages of this class of people/'f 

• Par. Papers, 1824, p. 5. + Asi. Res. vol. iv. p. 5. 


146 Indui$ Cries to 

£. Smith, Esq., Second Judge of the Benares Circait 
Court, Jan. 1813, observes, — ^'Juanpore is a district which 
requires a most vigorous hand ; indeed there is no keeping 
it in order, perhaps, but by a vigour somewhat beyond the 
law. The most turbulent of the Pergunnahs is Unglee,. 
inhabited principally by the Rajkoomar Rajpoots, the 
daughter'kiUing-race, who are supposed to carry on that 
practice in spite of Regulation XXI. of 1795. Indeed it is 
said not to be confined to the Rajkoomar Rajpoots, but to 
be common with the Ragboovansee bur, and other Raj- 
poots ; it is now of course practised with much more secrecy 
than formerly, but it is still, I understand, by no means 
at an end."* 

J. Shakspeare, Esq., Acting Superintendent of Police in 
die Western Provinces, thus speaks of the state of Infanti- 
cide in April, 1816 : ** Section XI. Regulation III., 1804,. 
contains provisions for the prevention and punishment of the 
inhuman practice prevalent among'tbe tribe of Rajkoomars,, 
of causing their, female infants to be strangled to death. 
There is reason to believe that this practice still obtains 
among the Rc^koomars to nearly the same extent asfor^ 
merltfy though a great degree of caution is observed to pre« 
vent detection. In the records of this office I find a few re- 
ports from Darogahs in former years of the murder of female 
children, by mixing their food with the milky juice of the 
plant aselepias gigantica, known in Bengal by the name of 
akond, and by that of ack in Hindostan. This mode of 
destroying their ofispring is said to be stilt commonly prac* 
tised. Some few instimces have been reported, during the 
last year, of persons destroying their children with the in- 
tention of revenging themselves for actual or supposed in- 
juries, under the impression that the sin of murder would be 
visited on the persons by whom they were aggrieved.^'f 

W. Cracrofi, Esq., Magistrate of Juanpore,, in May^ 
1819, shows the existence of the practice at that period : — 
'' Eight Rajkoomars, married men, whom I called before 
me, had among them seventeen sons and only one daughter f 
another mentioned that he had a wife whom her father had 
reared, but that her dowry had ruined the family. Surub'- 
doween Singh, who is a Rajkoomar, of the Nawab's 
country, has a sister twelve years old, whose wedding has^ 
been settled in Bauswarrah ; he has also a daughter three 

* Par. Papert, p. 13. f P- 14. 

Britkb Humaniiy. 147 

moothti old, whom he has promised to rear^ Talem Singh, 
his grandfather, also brought up a daughter, wbois a widow, 
and lives in Busera. Soogreem Singh, his son, has also 
reared a daughter, who is eight years old, but her marriage 
has not been determined on. There are some families, 
th^efore, among them who would willingly rear their 
daughters, but those are very few ; and, if by any misfor- 
tube their circumstances should become reduced, they 
would not hesitate to have recourse to the practice of the 
caste. Should you require farther information respecting 
Unglee, or the Rajkoomars, I request you will do me the 
favour to state specifically the subjects on which you wish 
me to report.*^ 

The Par. Papers respecting the Burning of Widows (vol. 
i. 1821) : contain the following confirmation of this lamen- 
table state of socie^; The magistrate of Agra, in the Snt- 
tee Report of ISlo, remarks, — ** The practice of burning 
women on the funeral piles of their husbands does not ex- 
ist in this district in the same degree as in others; the rea- 
son of this may be ascribed to the prevalence of female 
child murder. It is well known that no Rigpoot aUows a 
daughter to live : their wives are of other castes, and conse- 
quently not obliged to sacrifice themselves/'f ** The prac- 
tice of the Rajkoomars (says W. Ewer, Esq., Act. Sup. 
of Police,^ Lower Provinces) is, I have reason to think, 
but little checked by the enactment.'^ Nov. 1818. 

Part the second of the Par. Papers of 1824 relates to 
'' Infanticide practised by the Rajpoots in the District €f 
Cutch and KattywoTy a District of Onzeraty within the 
Dominions of the Guikttar : 1800 to 1808." pp. 17—70. 

The subject is first noticed in a report from Kerpa Rama, 
minister of the Nawaub of Surat, received by J. Duncan, 
Esq., Governor of Bombay in 1800 : — "I have heard people 
say,'' said the Minister, ** that among the tribe of Rajpoots, 
and especially among die Rajahs of that class, the birth of a 
daughter in their houses was considered as disgraceful ; on 
which account their women refuse to let their newly -born 
daughters have access to their milk, and do put them in any 

• Pac Papers, p. 16. 

t The Court of Nizamut Adawlut declare child murder to be coiw- 
trary to the existing law of 1804, and wish to know how this can have 
been evaded. 

t Par. Papers relative to Suttees, vol. i. p 104. ■ 



India 9 Cries td 

life ; and their doctrines are said to have made ao impres* 
sion on a few of the Jahrejas. 

** It would be an interesting inquiry to ascertain the num- 
ber of females who perieh annimlly from this detestable 
practice of Infanticide. This could only be effected by a 
careful research among the Jahreja families, which might 
determine their number, and obtain a tolerably correct es^ 
timate of the casualties. The result of my information was 
too vague and uncertain to afford any data of an accurate 
calculation ; but it may be useful to state this information, 
as, although defective, it may convey some determinate 
notion of the extent of this offence against the first laws of 
' human nature. I shall begin by stating an account which 
has the appearance of exaggeration* According to a loose 
computation, the number of Jahreja families inhabiting 
Cntch and Kattywar is estimated at 135,000, and the num- 
ber of female infants yearly destroyed to amount to 20,000. 
Being desirous of reducing this inquiry to a state of greater 
certainty, I endeavoured to procure a particular list of the 
Jahrejas inhabiting these countries. I found it impractica- 
ble to obtain this information respecting Cutch ; but the 
following is an account of the names and the number of 
Jahreja families inhabiting Hallaur aud Muchoo Khaunta, 
furnished by an intelligent native, well acquainted with 
that extraordinary race : — 

A list of the families of the different tribes of Jahrejas 
who inhabit Hallaur and Muchoo Khaunta : — 

Jam Zadeh, the descendants 






of the Jams 










HurdoU - 





Amrun - 















See Sungeea 





Halla - 





Kubbur - 










Rewanee - 















Kana - 





Tiakanee - 










Moranee - 





Batach - 





Ummur * 





And other castes 





'*It is supposed that the annual number of Infanticides 
ift the Peninsula of Ouzerat amounts to 5000. The 

Briikk Humanity. 151 

iiiimber of Jahrejas in Catch, on the authority of the na* 
tives^ is ten times as many as Hallaar and Mucboo Khanta, 
and this would give us a population of 130,000 men ; for 
all these calculations are exclusive of women and children, 
who must, from the nature of the case, either be wives or 
boys. As a number of Jahrejas in that country have dis- 
used Infanticide, without any formal renunciation, however, 
of the practice, the number of deaths may be estimated at 
30,000. I shall, lastly, state the lowest estimate that I re- 
ceived of those murders ; and, although its moderation may 
appear in favour of its truth, I am deposed to think this 
account tu short of the number destroyed as the preceding 
is probably an exaggeration. These accounts, it is to be 
observed, do not pretend to rest on calculation^ but convey 
the opinions of persons weU-informed respecting the state 
of the country. According to this authority, the number 
of Infanticides annuaUy in HaUaur and Muchoo KJumta 
we between 1000 and 1100; andin Gutch about 2000! 
The disagreement of these estimates would probably defeat 
any attempt to reconcile them, but they are sufficient to 
establish the enormity and magnitude of the crime. 

*' Whenever a Jaiace^a saves his daughter he invariably 
exerts every means, sometimes to the impoverishment of 
his family, to obtain a respectable settiement for her in life. 
It is, perhaps, this strong desire that prevents the lower 
orders saving their daughters. Hie instances that were re* 
ported to me of Jahrejas who saved their daughters were 
of families of rank in the country; but these instances of 
humanity are few. I shall begin with stating the most re- 
markable of them, as it was tha effect of conscience, al- 
though operating Jiy a kind of double faculty. The Jahreja, 
Mokajee of Anundgur, one of the byaud or brotherhood 
of the Gondul chief, after a short period, renounced matri- 
monial intercourse with his wife, from the apprehension of 
having a daughter. This was persevered in for several 
years, and Mokajee during that period patiently resisted 
the scoffings and persuasions of his cast and relations, with- 
out being in the least diverted from his purpose. The case 
became serious, aud the family assembled to prevent the 
misfortune, if possible, of Mokajee dying childless. After 
every other expedient had failed of success, Koombajee, 
late chief of Gondul, in his capacity of Teelaat, or head of 
the family, was obliged to lay a solemn and public injunction 
on Mokajee, to preserve his daughters. On receiving the 

162 India s CrUs to 

order of his sttperior, Mokajee returned to his wife, and 
had bom to him in succession four daughters ; a circum- 
stance which exposed him again to the taunts of the Jah* 
rejas, but which he appears to have supported with philo- 
sophical indifiference« These daughters are still alive, and 
are married to the chiefs of Draugudra, Wudwan, limree, 
and Wancaneer. 

*'The motives that led Mokajee to pursue tkis conduct 
deserve to be explained. He had become a Kubeer Punt. 
The Kubeer Punts form a sect of Biragees, who follow 
the tenets of Kubeer, a holy man who lived about 30(X 
years ago. They deny, in general, the authenticity of the' 
shastras and vedas ; and assert that God is one and invi- 
irible, possessing in himself every attribute ascribed by the 
Hindoos to different deities. They deny the debtars or 
incarnations, and place no confidence in the eflScacy of the 
ceremonies of worship and purification by washing in rivers ; 
but put their whole trust in the sincerity of devotion, and 
in good works. Kubeer himself was a Mahomedan by 
cast, and a weaver by profession. His disciples may be- 
either Mahomedans or Hindoos. On his death the Maho-^ 
medans claimed a right to bury him; in consequence of 
which they quarrelled, and placed a sheet over the corpse, 
which, when they withdrew, they found the upper part of 
his body to be dietamorphosed into a toolsee plant, the fa- 
vorite nymphsB of Krishna, the lower part into rehan, an 
odoriferous herb of green colour, the colour of the prophet. 
Mahomed ! As a zealous Jahreja, the honour and custom 
of bis cast required that Mokajee should kill his daughters. 
As a Kubeer Punt, the principles of the sect rendered 
Infanticide unlawful and criminal. In this situation Moka- 
jee could only avoid disgrace or sin by that course of celi- 
bacy which he prescribed for himself, and from which he 
was relieved by the commands of his chief. 

*" The chief of Kersura is the next instance of a Jah- 
reja who has brought up his daughter, and who is now mar- 
ried to Wujee Sing, the eldest son of the Thakore of 
Bhownuggur. The whole merit of this act of humanity is 
due to an Arab Jemadar, who gave up to this sordid and 
mercenary chief all the arrears of pay which he had earned 
in his service, and which amounted to a considerable sum, 
on condition that he would preserve his daughter. 

'^ It is more pleasing to relate the third instance, as it 
appears to have proceeded from the natural affections of a 

British Humanity. 153 

l^ent Dadftjee, the brother of the present chief of 
Rajkote, has preserved his daughter ; and, from his con- 
versation and manners, I was fully impressed that it was 
&e effect of principle and duty. A similar instance occurs 
in the example of Hootajee, the chieftain of Kotara San- 
gani, who has preserved all his female offspring. Hootajee 
is a professed robber, to whom sentiment and feeling 
firight be supposed to be strangers. The profession which 
lie followed did not prevent me conversing with Hootajee, 
nor avoiding a pretty frequent intercourse with him. This 
man, with the aspect and manners of a barbarian, pos- * 
sessed all the feelings of natural affection, which led him 
to cherish his daughters in opposition to the usage and 
prejudices of his tribe. His daughters are between six 
and eight years of age, and he brought them to my camp, 
where they were vaccinated. I observed their father ca- 
ressing them with pleasure, and exulting in them with true 
parental satisfaction. Their persons and manners are very 
interesting. It deserves remark, as exhibiting a strong 
feature in the character of the Jahrejas, and of their feel- 
ing with respect to their daughters, that these girls wore 
turbans, and were dressed and habited like boys. As if 
afraid or ashamed of acknowledging their sex, they assured 
me liiat they were not girls, and, with infantile simplicity, 
appealed to their father if it were not the case ! 

'^ The last instance which I shall mention of a Jahreja 
saving his daughter is the chief of Malia, and T believe this 
comprises the whole number of existing cases that came to 
my knowledge. The wife of this Thakore prevailed on 
him to rear his daughter ; but, notwithstanding this, he was 
one of the last who subscribed to the instrument for abo- 
lishing the practice of Infanticide. My reports for the 
settlement of the revenue of this country have occasionally 
exhibited a solitary instance, wherein the Jahrejas have 
saved as well as destroyed their daughters, but my inter- 
course with the Jahrejas brought me acquainted with 
several who had caused three or four of their female off' 
spring^ to be put to death; and they spoke of the circum- 
rtance with the indifierence incident to the most ordinary 

** Even iiie poorest and lowest Jahreja feels the utmost 
solicitude not to taint his blood by an improper alliance. It 
does not appear that the number of their wives is limited 
by any rule. The practice of concubinage is common 

154 India's Cries to 

among ihe Jahiejas, and in forming theae connexions tbej 
are under little or no restraint with respect to cast. It will 
be observed that the settlement of their daughters bom of 
rackelees, or mistresses, is attended with little expense or 
publicity ; and the motives, therefore, which lead the Jah- 
rejas to destroy their legitimate daughters, do not in the 
former case exist with equal force. It is remarkable that 
it is the practice of these rackelees, or mistresses, to per- 
form Suttee with deceased Jahrejas, which is but rarely 
done by dieir wives. When Rao Locka, the grandfather 
of Rao Raydim, the present chief of Cutch, died, fifteen 
rackelees burnt at his funeral pile ! two of these women 
were Mahomedans of the country, and another a See* 
deen ; the rest were Hindoos of different casts, hut not 
one of Rao Lactams wives sacrificed herself on this occa^ 
sion» This deviation from the general Hindoo practice is 
merely the effect of another habit or custom, as there is no 
law against a Jahreja wife burning with her husband, and 
they sometimes voluntarily devote themselves to the flames. 
This ceremony is less expected from the wife than the 
rackelee, and these unfortunate females conceive it a point 
of honour to consume themselves with their lords, being 
often inspired with a dreadful emulation to become the first 
victim. The Jahreja wives or rackelees are at liberty to 
follow this custom, or to abstain from it, and neither dis- 
grace nor opprobrium is attached to those who may choose 
to survive. It may be mentioned as another extraordinary 
deviation from the general custom of Hindoos, that, in the 
district of Hulwud, the wives of the lowest casts inva» 
riahly hum with their husbands, which may be the reason 
that the Jahreja women excuse themselves ; and, as it is 
only people of rank who keep rackelees, instances of this 
nature are not frequent. 

*' The influence of example and communication is ca-* 
pable of procuring converts to the most flagitious courses. 
The Jaitwa Rajpoots, who rule over the division of Bur* 
rudda, have been accused of adopting the barbarouis prac- 
tice of the Jahrejas in destroying their daughters. The 
Jaitwas may have thought it no disgrace to follow a custom 
cherished by their conquerors ; and, having lost the greater 
part of their possessions, they may have been desirous, 
like the Jahrejas, of relieving themselves from the burthen 
of portioning their daughters. They observe a silence on 
the subject, and the deed is performed in secrecy ; but the 

British Humanity. 156 

singular fact, that tiie Ranas of Poorbunder have had no 
grown up daughters for more than a hundred years, 
woold be sufficient evideQce against them. Their chief 
executed the same instrument as the Jahrejas did for re* 
nouncing the custom ; an unequivocal proof that it ex* 

The third part of the Parliamentary Papers relates to 
*' Infanticide practised by the Rajpoots in the Districts of 
Cutch and Kattywaryttdthin the Dominions of the Quick- 
tear :" 1808 to 1820, pp. 71—128. 

Colonel Walker, referring to the success of his endea- 
vours to abolish Infanticide among the Jahrejas, remarks 
in his important document r " 1 was willing to think that 
the example might produce a favourable effect on the Jah- 
rejas of dutch, and in this expectation I addressed myself 
again to Futteh Mahomed. The Jemadar^s answer con* 
tained a second defence of Infanticide, but in more mode- 
rate terms ; and it disclosed a circumstance which is pro* 
bably true, that his situation rendered It improper for him 
to say any thing on the subject to the Jahrejas. It appears 
that the Jahreja Byaud of Cutch could easily overturn the 
usurped authority of Futteh Mahomed ; and that they only 
sanction or submit to it, because they have acquired thereby 
an extension of their own authority, and many illegal pes- 
sessions. It is generally understood that if this Jemadar 
attempts to deprive them of any of their privileges, or to 
circumscribe their unjust acquisition, they could, without 
much difficulty, deprive him of his own power. Under 
these circumstances we cannot probably indulge any strong 
hope that the suppression of Infanticide will soon be at- 
tained in Cutch ; and, in the actual state of affairs in that 
country, they may, perhaps, afford some apology for Futteh 
Mahomed's appearing as a constrained advocate for the un** 
natural crime of Infanticide.*'t 

J. R. Camack, Esq., Resident at Baroda, addressed the 
Chief Secretary of the Bombay Government, July, 1816, 
" I have the honour to report, in pursuance of the orders 
of the Right Honourable the Governor in Council, that 
the abolition of this inhuman practice in Cutch has not 
been accomplished. The urgent representations to that 
Government during the life of Futteh Mahomed, and our 
subsequent intercourse with his Highness Raidhum and his 

• Par. Papers, 1824, pp. 37—42. + p. 50. 

166 India's Cries to . 

ministers, were attended with no effect; in the first case^ 
from a declaration, that an interference with the reli^ons 
prejudices of the country was incompatible with the situa-> 
tion of Futteh Mahomed ; and latterly the impaired power 
of the Rao, and the internal revolutions of Cutch, have 
been made a pretext for paying no attention to the execu- 
tion of our wishes. Circumstances have not enabled us 
therefore to carry our views, for the abolition of Female 
Infanticide in Cutch, beyond the measure of represen- 
tation ; and, considering that the prejudice which tolerates 
this atrocious practice is interwoven with the conceived 
notions of honour of families of Jahreja origin, it could not 
be expected, until our influence was established, that Fe- 
male Infanticide could be suppressed. It may require 
also considerable exertions and discretion, now that we 
have obtained a political establishment in Cutch, before any 
progress is made in the success of our object. In the cus- 
toms of the natives of India, but especially in their reli- 
gions feelings, any spirit of reform must be introduced by 
taking advantage of occasional opportunities to offer advice 
or gentle remonstrance, and not by inculcating innovations 
or changes from the imposing appearance of our power. 
I should have been happy to announce that Female Infan- 
ticide was entirely eradicated from the Peninsula of Catty-' 
war. Although there has lately been no evidence afforded 
to me, either by my assistant, or the Guieawar local autho- 
rity, of any Jahreja having destroyed his offspring since the 
accession to the engagements by means of Colonel Walker; 
I have been disappointed in the result of the statement of 
those children who have been reported as preserved. The 
letter from Captain Ballantine seems to vouch/or only fif- 
teen, the disparity of which number is very great according 
to the ordinary progress of population."* 
• The Governor in Council writes to the Honourable 
Court of Directors, December, 1817, *• To the last report 
from the Assistant to the Resident at Baroda, on this sub- 
ject, we particularly wish to draw your attention, as sub- 
mitting a register of the Talookas in Catty war, where the 
Jahrejas reside, and showing how many female children 
have been saved (with the names and places of abode of 
the parents) since the introduction of Colonel Walker^s 
arrangements, accompanied by his observations on th e 

* Par. Papers, p. 97, see p. 106. 

Brituh Humanity. 157 

register, aod in regard to the adoption of measures which 
might be calculated to root out the evil. The report of 
Captain Ballantine, while it affords satisfactory proof that 
SIXTY-THREE female children had been preserved by 
owr interposition, exhibits a melancholy picture of the 
almost universal continuance of the horrid practiccy and 
that to an extent beyond what we had anticipated. It is 
obsenrable that the preservation of no more than the above 
small number of children can be established throughout the 
Talookas specified by Captain Ballantine, where it is con- 
cluded the number of Jahrejas must be very considerable ; 
since Draffa alone contains 400 families ; nor can it escape 
your attention that the Jahrejas enumerated as having pre- 
served their female child ren, have saved only one of the 
number that must have been born according to the ordi-- 
nary course of nature.'** 

Colonel Walker having retired from India, but still 
deeply interested in this philanthropic design of abolishing 
Infanticide, addressed the following letter to the Secretary 
of the Court of Directors, in 1819: — *' In acknowledging 
your letter, and the documents to which it gave cover^ I beg 
to enclose, for the Honourable the Court of Directors, a 
memorandum on the subject of Female Infanticide. I have 
found it impossible at present to give that important subject 
all the consideration which is due to it, and I shall probably 
avail myself of a future opportunity of transmitting, for 
the notice of the Honourable Court, some additional re* 
flections which may occur to me. 

. *' Although there can be no difference of opinion re- 
garding the enormity of the crime of Infanticide, yet it is 
not to be considered as peculiar to the natives of India. In 
other parts of the earth the same practice has prevailed. 
In China it is not uncommon at this day ; where it is per- 
mitted by the legislature, and where it is reckoned no dis- 
grace nor dishonour to the individual. Every humane person, 
however, must agree that such a practice should be stopped 
by all the means which a wise Government can command; 
that we have the means in our power there cannot be a 
doubt ; and I must beg leave to say that my own success is 
a proof of this. The means are, persuasion and reason. If 
these be wisely applied, by the agents of Government, they 
will be found to be quite sufficient without any inquisitorial 

♦ Par. Papers, p. 106, 107. 

160 India's Cries id 

opposed to the sentiments and feelings of nature. Apprehensions being 
entertained lest these -sacrifices might, at a future y)eriod, be prevented 
by the police, a boy of about twelve years of age, who, we have reason to 
believe, was not the fifth child, and who, consequently, according to the 
strict letter of the vow, was not liable to be sacrificed, was thrown into 
the Ganges. The boy having saved himself by swimming, a Gosayn en- 
deavoured to extend to him his protection ; but, singular and unnatural 
as| it may appear, he was again seized, and committed to destruction by 
his own parents I 

" We nave stated that the above sacrifices took place at Saugur, which 
Island is held to be peculiarly sacred from its being considered the ter- 
mination of the Ganges, and the junction of that river with the sea. The 
spot where these rites are administered is described in Major Rennell's 
map under the title of ' the place of sacrifice.' Saugur is not the only 
place where rites of the above nature are performed ; the same practice 
prevails at Allahabad, at Bannsbaria, in tne Zillah of Hooghly, and at 
Cbogdab, in the Zillah of Nuddea. We have reason to believe, however, 
that at those places it is become, for the most part, a mere ceremony, 
and that the children, tliough thrown into the Ganges in conformity to 
the vow of their parents, are generally, if not uniformly, rescued from 

** It does not 'appear that sacrifices of this nature are sanctioned by 
any tenet of the Hindoo code. What, however, has nearly the force of 
a religious dogma is the vow itself, and usage, which, in the opinion of 
the Hindoos, is equally binding as a written law. The practice appears 
to be little countenanced by the religious orders, or by the great body of 
the people, who, on the contrary, think it a pious and roentoriou& act to 
rescue a child from destruction, and afterwards to adopt and maintain it 
at their own expense. Not having been in possession of any information 
regarding the sacrifices in the month of November last, the sacrifices took 
place at that period without any interference on the part of the police, 
when the number of victims destroyed amounted to no less than thirty-nine. 
In the past month we sent a party to prevent a repetition of these bar- 
barous rites, and are happy that the duty was effectually performed with- 
out any disturbance or opposition whatever, ■ In considering the means 
best adapted for preventing a practice so repugnant to nature and hu^- 
manity, we observe that it would be consistent with precedents already 
established to propose a regulation for the prevention of such sacrifices 
in future. But, as we have no reason to suppose that the practice was> 
authorized under the Mogul government, and as the parties concerned 
are liable to be punished according to the established law, we presume 
it would be suflBcient to issue a proclamation, notifying, that any persons 
who may be parties in such sacrifice will be tried and punished for the 
offence according to the general laws and regulations of the country. 
The foregoing remarks and suggestions are applicable only to the invo- 
luntary sacrifices of children. With respect to the self-devotion of the 
aged and infirm, in the Ganges, the practice prevails so generally, and is 
considered by the Hindoos, under certain circumstances, so instrumental 
to their happiness in a future state of existence, that we doubt whether 
any rules which could be adopted would prevent a practice rooted in the 
most remote antiquity, and sanctioned by express tenets in their sacred 

* Par. Papers, pp. 134, 135. 

Briti$h Humanity* 161 

It is deeply to be regretted that the shield of British 
humanity and justice has not been thrown over the sick, 
the aged, and the infirm, who are frequently murdered by 
cruel exposure on the banks of the Ganges, and submer- 
sion in its waves. 

^he nature of these barbarities appears from the informa- 
tion and deposition of Charles Starling, a mate in the Pilot 
service, taken upon oath, before Charles Martyn, one of 
His Majesty's justices of the peace for the town of Cal- 
cutta, in Dec. 1801. He stated '' that on the day of the 
full moon, in November last, this deponent, and Edmund 
Bardett, branch pilot, went from the Philip Dundas schooner 
OB shore to the Pagoda Creek on Saugur Island, where the 
people go annually to worship; that, after this deponent and 
the said Edmund Bartlett got on shore, they walked up to 
the huts of the natives, and after being on shprefor an hour 
they saw the entrails, as they supposed, of a human body 
floating on the water ; and at the same time they also saw 
about diree thousand natives on the beach. This deponent 
further sattb, that a fakeer was standing close to him and 
the said Edmund Bartlet; this deponent asked him, the 
said fakeer, the reason why a number of the natives were 
ordered to be put into the water; he answered that the 
head fakeer had ordered them to go to the water to be de- 
voured by the sharks, for the prosperity of their respective 
families. The fakeer also informed this deponent that if 
a woman had four children she ought to put one of them 
into the water to be devoured by the sharks, with the hope 
that the other three cbildren should live. This deponent 
further saith, that, while he was on the beach, during the 
time that he was in the boat going to the shore, this depo- 
nent saw altogether eleven men^ women, and lads, destroyed 
by the sharks. This deponent further saith, that, while 
they were in the boat, they heard tbat a boy was to be put 
into the water to be destroyed by the sharks ; they waited 
there with an intention to save the boy ; but he was not put 
into the water while the boat was there. And this deponent 
is informed, and believes, that as soon as they returned to 
the schooner the boy was put into the water, and was de- 
stroyed by the sharks."* 

Infanticide appears to exist in various parts of India. 
'' The custom of Infanticide," says Sir John Malcolm, " ap- 

' ' ' ■ ■■ ' ' ri I ■■ ■ . , ■,.... y .i ■■ ■ ■■ 

♦ Par. Papers, p. 186. 

102 . India's Cries to 

pears to be confiued to some Rajpoot Chiefs of high ilank 
and small fortune* who resort to it to prevent their daugb- 
ters contracting a marriage beneath their rank, and who 
despair of obtaining a marriage with their equals. The 
petty Thakore of Cherawul, a relation of the Amjerah 
family, married a daughter of the Rawul of Banswarrah 
thirty-four years ago (in 1821). The tribe of the Thakore's 
family was so inflated by this occurrence, that it was resolved 
no female should make an inferior match ; and, in despair 
of obtaining such good fortune again, they kill every female 
child." Sir John says that " Suntook Ram, minister of 
Amjerah, told him, he was sitting with Puddun Singh, the 
present Thakore, when be heard the birth of a female in- 
fant whispered in his ear, and saw him preparing the fatal 
pill of opium (the usual signal): he implored that the child 
might live ; his request was granted ; and this little girl, 
added Suntook Ram, is always called my daughter."* 

The Judge of Circuit in the Bareilly Division, in 1805, 
states to Government, ** The number of persons convicted 
of wilful murder is certainly great. The murder of chiU 
dreriyfor the sake of their ornaments, is, I am sorry to say, 
common. For my own part, being convinced that under 
the existing laws we have no other means of putting an 
end to the frequent perpetration of this crime, I could wish 
to see the practice of adorning children with valuable 
trinkets altogether prohibited. A want of tenderness 
and regard for life I think very general throughout the 

'* The crime of destroying illegitimate children in the 
womb is prevalent to a shocking degree in Bengal. In 
the family of a single Koleen Brahmun, whose daughters 
never live with their husbands, it is common for each 
daughter to destroy a child in the womb . annually ; this 
crime is very prevalent among widows, so numerous in this 
country. The pundit who gave this information supposes 
10,000 children are thus murdered in the Province of 
Bengal every month! ! (qu. every year?) Expressing my 
doubts of this extraordinary and shocking circumstance, he 
appealed to the fact of many females being tried for these 
offences in the courts of justice in every Zillah in Bengal. 
He said that the fact was so notorious that every child in 

♦ \\e^, of Cen. India, Asi- Jour. Jan. 1823. See also Ham. Hind- 
vol. ii. pp. 6 17-^666. f ^clec. Rev. 1828. 

British Humanity^s 168 

the country knew of it ; it had acquired an appropriate 
aame. petu phela and pet phelanee is a term of abuse 
which one woman often gives to another. Many women 
die after taking the drug intended to ktU the unborn 

The Rev. C. Lacey, the Author's Colleague in Orissa, 
in a letter, dated Cnttack, June, 1827, mentions the follow- 
ing interesting fact : — 

" A human sacrifice has lately been offered near Cuttack ; a few par- 
ticulars respecting it will not be unacceptable. Bwnan sacrifices are more 
frequent than is generally apprehended. Eveiy possible precaution is 
taken to keep them secret, so that few are heard of. In the present in- 
stance the sacrifice was a young child, a boy, and his parents are of the 
Soodra caste. He was either bought or stolen from tnem by the sacri- 
ficer. It seems probable that the person who offered the sacrifice had 
made a vow to the goddess to offer a beautiful child in case of some 
favour granted ; hence the boy chose, was of very respectable parents, 
about five years of age, and very handsome. How the ceremony was 
performed I do not know, but most likely by cutting off the head, as 
bodies and heads of human sacrifices have been found ; and the goddess 
Kalee is represented as being pleased with the flow of blood. I have 
witnessed the sacrifices of goats and buffaloes to Kalee, in Bengal, and 
this was the manner of sacrificing them ; it is therefore most probable 
that the blood and head of the child were carried immediately before the 
image and offered to her. The Brahmun, to conceal the murder, after 
offering the sacrifice, took the body of the victim and cut it into small 
pieces, and boiled it in a handy (a large earthen pot), in which it seems 
he intended to bury it. This was a most secure method, as the boiling 
disfigured the flesh, and no one here could suspect flesh being in a 
handy. It seems he was detected in boiling it. The perpetrator and 
the idol were brought before the Magistrate of Cuttack, and a minute 
investigation ensued; the evidence appeared clear against the Brahmun. 
We, however, condemn no one without oaths, and, the murderer being a 
Brahmun^ not one of the witnesses would swear against him, as it would 
have taken his life. In this manner the murderer ^as acquitted of all 
charges, though it was evident he was guilty of the crime." 

The following extract of a letter, on the neglect of children 
in India, from the Rev. A. Sutton of Balasore in Orissa, i^ 
Aug. 1828, shows that modern heathens, like those of old, 
are ** without natural affection :" — 

'' The rains have commenced, and many deaths have occurred in con- 
sequence ; several have died on and close to our premises. One case 
of peculiar distress came before me yesterday, which it may be interest- 
ing to record. As I was going in the evening to a neighbouring village! 
to preach, I saw a Hindostanee woman with a child at the foot of a tree ; 
on coming up to her I found her much, exhausted with the cholera, and 
nearly insensible. I of course gave her medicines, and begged, long in 

. * Ward's View, vol. iii. p. 292. See also Asi. Jour. Feb. 1827, 

p. 269. 


Ui India'9 Cries to 

Tain, of the hard-hearted villagers fQr a little milk to give the child. To- 
day I visited her twice, and she seems somewhat better, but there is 
little probability of her recovery ; for, though she has money, yet no one 
will supply her with necessacies, and she cannot help herself; perhaps 
indeed the circumstance of her having a little money will induce them 
to behave worse towards her. I got a little milk to-day and fed the 
poor child, but it is painful work ; any heart but that of a Hindoo must 
nave been moved to witness the eagerness with which the half-famished 
infant devoured it; and, when she had. drank it, the imploring look of 
the little creature made me think of Moses and Pharaoh^s daughter. I 
tried every argument I could command to induce the villagers to take 
care of the child, and promised to pay any expense ; but no, it was a fe- 
male child and nobody cored for it ! I tried what I could do with a fat 
wealthy Brahmun, and observed that the woman would die, and then 
what would become of the child? but his gentle reply was, *Sahe mur- 
rebo aow kee ? — It must die too, what else V Such are the mild and gentle 
Hindoo Brahmuns. 27th. — ^The poor woman and several others have 
been carried off during the day : we have taken the half-famished child 
under our protection. It is rather a pretty little girl, of perhaps about 
ten months old : the poor little thing seems determined to live ; for she 
readily eats and drinks any thing we give her. Our present views 
are, if she should live for^ two or three years, to place] her in Mrs. 
Marshman's or our Calcutta friends' Asylum for orphan children of na- 
tive converts. It is more than probable that many children are left as 
this little girl was, and of course perish in the most miserable manner ima- 

Colonel Walker, in his letter to the Secretary of the 
Honourable Court of Directors, Aug. 1819, expresses his 
deep regret on the perusal of Papers relative to the present 
state of In&nticide. ** It would," says the Colonel, "be a 
very painful task for me to enter into a minute and critical 
examination of those proceedings which have been held on 
Infanticide since I left India ; some remarks are unavoidably 
necessary on a subject which cannot be viewed without 
emotion, and which, to a considerable degree, must inyolve 
the character of our country. ITie policy and humanity 
of our Government are irrevocably blended with the success 
of the measures for abolishing this revolting crime. After 
tt careful perusal of the documents with which I have been 
favoured by the indulgence of the Honourable Court, I 
have found it impossible to suppress the conclusion that the 
subject has either been forgotten for years together or that 
some imperious and uncontrollaole circumstances had ren- 
dered our interference utterly impracticable. From what- 
ever resistless cause this has arisen, it is deeply to be la^ 
mefifted, and the consequences are far more formidable 
than even the immediate effects. The immediate effects 
are the loss of so many thousand lives; but the conse- 

British Hunmniiy. 16ft 

quences are still more serious, as the enforcement of the 
engagement must now be ipfiniteljr more difficnlt by the 
long neglect and disase of its provisions. 

** At the time that I left India the subject was familiar 
to the Jahrejas ; there was an impression of interest on 
their minds ; a return had appeared of parental affection, 
and, above all, there was the necessity of obeying a legal 
enactment possessing their own solemn sanction, and for 
the enforcement of which the British and Guicowar 60* 
vernments were pledged. Instead of this picture, the 
Jahrejas have now found out thai the engagement, which 
was at first so reluctantly yielded, and strenuously urged, 
means almost nothing, since it may be eluded with impu- 
nity; may be violated without detection and without re- 
proof. If they had imagined that there would be so little 
danger in its violation as they evidently, at present, be- 
lieve to be the case, I should without doubt have found 
much less difficulty in obtaining their consent to discontinue 
the custom of destroying their daughters. 

" The consequence at this moment operating in Kattywar 
is the im'pression of weakness and vacillancy on the part of 
the British Government, or that they are incapable of giving 
effect to their own measures. It may seem idle to trace 
out the nature and extent of the evil that remissness or ac* 
cidents have produced. I am aware also that the truth 
cannot be stated in all its broadness and honesty to the 
Company's Government in India, as it might irritate in- 
stead of conciliate ; yet it should be stated, though with as 
much delicacy as the nature of such truth will admit."* 

The demoralizing influence of this inhuman custom must 
be evident. J. Dancan, Esq., in his communication to 
Government, Oct., 1789, speaking of the Rajkoomars and 
other disorderly tribes on the Juanpore frontiers, says, 
*' Zalim Sing and Goordut, two of the principal of them, 
nave lately levied their forces with a design to fi^ht each 
other on our borders. I have been obGged to warn the com- 
mandfng officer at Juanpore to be on his guard against 
their possible inroads; and, although the appearance of 
peace between these men has since increased, yet we must 
not relax in our caution what may happen, for I cannot 
rely on their moderation ; and what can be expected of men 
inured as they are by birth and education to the most atrocious 

* Par. Papers, p. 121, 122. 

166 India s Cries to 

deeds.'** To the same effect is the following extract from 
the Judge of the Benares Court of Circuit to the Magis* 
trate of the Zillah of Juanpore, Feb., 1816.—** The ex- 
treme prevalence of affrays, so much beyond the other 
Zillahs that I have passed through, seems to have existed 
for a long time ; and although the aggregate annual number 
may be at present somewhat diminished^ yet neither the 
propensities of the people, nor the facilities of prevention^ 
seem to be essentially meliorated. The savage and quar- 
relsome spirit of the people in the Pergunnah of tJnglee 
appears to originate a large and constant proportion of your 
business, as well as that of this Court. The jealous and 
hasty pride which induces them to become the murderers 
of their own female offspring has probably a considerable 
effect in blunting their feelings against a sympathetic sense 
of the pains they inflict upon one another on the smallest 
pretence of right or offence, and to render the dread of 
public justice of light or no collective influence."t 

A more recent communication from W. Cracroft, Esq., 
Magistrate of Juanpore, May, 1819, expresses the same sen- 
timents, equally appUcable to every tribe or caste that prac^ 
tises Infanticide or any other sanguinary customs: — "It 
may perhaps not be advancing too much to say that the 
practice of Infanticide is indirectly a very considerable 
catise of the insubordinate character and violent disposi- 
tion of the RajkoomarSy as it teaches them early to steel 
their hearts against the natural affections, and renders them 
familiar with inbunianity; the mere want of female com- 
panions and playmates, during the earlier part of adoles- 
cence, must have a material effect in preventing tbeir 
manners and sentiments from being softened or civilized. 
Female Infanticide must also be a great check to popula- 
tion in a country which is far from having arrived at its 
greatest extent of cultivation. Indeed, a considerable 
number (I imagine as many as one-third) of the Rajkoomars 
are never married. Considering the question either in a 
moral, political^ or religious point of view, it demands the 
most serious attention of GovernmentJ"X 

♦ Par. Papers, p. 6. f p. 13. t P- ^5. 

British Humanity* 167 


Success of efforts^ ancient and modern^ for the suppression 
of Human Sacrifices and Infanticide— Difficulties of 
the entire abolition of Infanticide in India, 

The practice of human sacrifices, though so prevalent in 
•different countries and distant ages, is opposed to the dic- 
tates of nature ; and hence its partial abolition, by civilized 
states, long before the Christian era. Probably the earliest 
account of Infanticide is the destruction of the children of 
the Israelites in the Nile, by Pharaoh, king of Egypt. 
The first eflTorts to abolish it upon record originated in the 
divine command given by Moses to the Israelites, con- 
cerning the abominations of the Canaanites (B.C. 1490 
years) — "Thou shalt say to the children of Israel, Whoso- 
•ever he be of the children of Israel, or of the strangers 
that sojourn in Israel, that giveth any of his seed unto Mo- 
lech, he shall surely be put to death ; the people of the 
land shall stone him with stones. And I will set my face 
against that man, and will cut him ofi^ from among his 
people ; because he hath given of his seed unto Molech, to 
defile my sanctuary, and to profane my holy name. And 
if the people of the land do any ways hide their eyes from 
the man, when he giveth of his seed unto Molech, and kill 
him not; then wiU I set my face against that man, and 
against his family, and will cut him ofi^, and all that go a 
whoring after him, to commit whoredom with Molech, from> 
among their people." Lev. xx. 2 — 5. 

" The Carthaginians (says RoUin) retained the barbarous 
custom of ofibring human sacrifices to their gods till the 
ruin of their city. An action which ought to be called 
Sacrilegium verius quam sacrum. It was suspended for 
for some years, fronti the fear of drawing upon themselves 
the indignation and arms of Darius I., king of Persia, who 
forbade them offering human sacrifices and eating the 
fiesh of dogs. But this horrid practice was soon resumed; 
since in the reign of Xerxes, successor of Darius (B. C. 
484 years), Gelon, the tyrant of Syracuse, having gained 
a considerable victory over the Carthaginians in Sicily^ 
made the following conditions, among other articles of 

188 India's Cries to 

peace granted them, ihat no mere human sacrijices should 
be offered to Saturn. During the engagement, which 
lasted from morning till night, Uamilcar their general was 
perpetually offering to the gods sacrifices of living men, 
who were thrown on a flaming pile : but, seeing his troops 
routed, he himself rushed into the pile, that he might not 
survive his disgrace ; and, says St. Ambrose, to extinguish 
with his own blood this sacrilegious lire, when he found it 
had not proved of service to him."* 

The Romans exerted themselves with success in the 
same work of justice and mercy. *'It is a very remark- 
able fact that the Romans (though heathens themselves) 
abolished human sacrifices in this country, at least a century 
and a half before the introduction of Christianity among 
us. The Romans conceived such an aversion to the 
Druids, the high priests of these abominations, whose in- 
humanities a reminutely described by Diodorus Siculus 
(Lib. 5), that contrary to the ordinary policy of that people, 
in their conquests, of invariably tolerating the religion of 
the country, they resolved upon an utter extirpation oiF these 
priests and their cruelties. It appears from Pliny (L. 
30, c. 1) that human sacrifice^ were first forbidden at 
Rome, by a decree of the Senate, A. U. C. 6d7, but that, 
some persons still continuing them privately, the Emperor 
Augustus renewed the prohibition with effect. The Em* 
peror Tiberius then suppressed them in Gaul, and Claudius, 
as appears from Suetonius (In Claud, c. 35), extripated the 
Druids as well as their sanguinary worship in that country. 
These sacrifices existed in our own cpuntry (as appears 
from Pomponius Mela de situ orbis L. 3 c. 2), until about 
the sixtieth year of the Christian era, when the Roman 
general Paulinus Suetonius, having reduced the Island of 
Anglesea, overthrew the Druids and their inhuman rites so 
completely that they never afterwards revived ; but all this 
was considerajply anterior to the introduction of Christianity 
itself. And will it be endured that our own heathen con- 
querors shall have actually done more for us than we are 
willing to do for our Indian subjects ? Shall the mere na- 
tural principle of ** Hqmo sup^ humani nihil a me alienum 
puto'* have exercised an influence on idolatrous and pagan 
Kpme ? And shall Britain, acting under far higher sanctions, 

— ---» , s _-^ 

* Ancient History, Vol. i. p. 109.-*Vol. iv. p. tS, 

Briti$h Humanity. 169 

and obliged by a more powerfal responsibiKty, reftise to ac- 
knowledge the force of the same argument?"* 

Christianity as a system of Religion, and by the prin- 
ciples it has diffused in the government of every people 
among whom it has been established^ has accomplished the 
annihilation of every species c^ human sacrifice. Read 
the article of the learned Bryant, like the roll of the pro* 
phet, '^ written within and without with mourning, and la- 
mentation, and woe,'' and taking the circuit of the western 
world, ask. Where are these horrid rites ? They are all, 
with almost every relic of the idolatry connected with 
them, — 

" Bury'd 'midst the nvreck of things that were." 

In various parts of India, by the progress of Christianity 
and the domination of the Mahometans, the practice of 
human sacrifices has become ahnost extinct. ** like the 
other temples in the Deccan (says Dr. Buchanan), the 
revenues of the temple of Bamisseram are wasting away* 
J saw no human bone in the island. Christianity in its 
worst shape has civilized the Deccan.f 

'' The law of Mahomed put a stop to the inhuman custom 
which had been long practised by Pagan A.rabs, of burying 
their daughters alive. This wicked practice is condemned 
by the Koran in several passages, one of which, as some 
commentators judge, may also condemn another custom of 
the Arabians, altogether as wicked, and as common among 
other nations of old, viz. the sacrificing of their children to 
their idols, as was frequently done, in particular in satis- 
faction of a vow they used to make, that, if they had a cer- 
tain number of sons bom, they would offer one of them in 

Colonel Walker adverts to the efforts of the Maho- 
metans for the suppression of Infanticide in India, and 
shows the facility with which the British power may prevent 
tiiis unnatural crime. ''The subject was not overlooked by 
the former Government of India, to which the Company 
may now be considered as having succeeded. The author 
of the Achall Nameh relates that, in the route of the royal 
army from Cashmere to lAhore, they came to a village the 

* Poynder's Speech on Human Sacrifices in India (Hatchard), p. 220. 

t Dfe of Bucnanan, Vol. ii. p. 49. 

J Par. Papers, p. 58, 59. Sales Koran, Prelim. Dis. 

170 Indians Cries to 

inhabitants of which had formerly been Hindoo, 'where 
numbers of the poor people apon naving daughters born to 
ibem, that instant secretly put ^n end to their existence.' 
This fact coming to the knowledge of the Emperor Jehan- 
goire, ho ordered * that this harharous practice should he 
discontinued ; and enacted that whoever should commit it 
in future should be put to the tortwre^ From this it 
would appear that Infanticide engaged the attention of the 
Mogul Government, and that it made an attempt to sup- 
press the practice. It would be curious, as well as useful, 
to ascertain what has been the fate of the measures which 
were adopted for this purpose two hundred years ago* 
Have they been successful, or have they failed? The 
moral negligence which succeeded the decline of the Mogul 
Empire, and the impracticability, in the disordered state of 
the country, of enforcing a severe law, would be sufficient 
to discourage, our expectations that the termination has 
been prosperous. Still it would be'desirable to know the 
actual result, to discover the extent of the impression, and 
whether the attempt was only the effect of the feeling at 
the moment, or pursued as a system. Tlie extensive power 
and dominion which we now possess in India may he made 
subservient to this enquiry^ and be directed to ascertain 
how far the practice of Infanticide prevails in any of the 
countries under the influence or control of the British Go- 

Modem efforts for the abolition of this inhuman cus- 
tom have been various^ and attended with some degree of 
success. J. Duncan, Esq., in a letter to the Governor 
General in Council, in December 1789, states, " I have 
been lately through that part of the country where the Raj- 
koomar tribe reside. I have conversed with several of 
them, and have found, from their own confessions, that 
the custom of female child-murder has long been and 
still continues very prevalent among them. I have prevailed 
on those situated within our frontier to, agree to renounce 
in future this horrid practice, to which effect they have en- 
tered into the engagement which will be found in the ac- 
companying extract of my proceedings ; and, as there 
remain a few names to be yet affixed to this covenant, it is 
still circulating among the parties, and T shall hereafter 
mention the number of the names of the subscribers ; to 

* Par. Papers, 1824, p. 128. 

Briti$h, Humanity. 171 

increase which, and farther to promote the salutary object 
in view, I have written concerning it to Lncknow. As 
this baneful habit is not confined to the Bajkoomars alone, 
but extends to the tribe called Raghevansa/ who reside in 
our Per^unnah of Mongra, and Talooka of Chandwack, 
and in ouer parts, I have taken measures for their signing 
a separate similar engagement, from which I have very 
sanguine hopes that this system of Infanticide will be put a 
stop to, or be at least greatly lessened. 

** The Rajkoomar renunciation of letting their daughters 
perish has been received, and is subscribed by all those of 
that tribe in this part of the country, including Zalem Sing, 
and Goordut Sing, the latter of whom is the only one of 
the subscribers who disallows^ by the words of his signa- 
turey of having been guilty of this crime, I have sent a 
copy of the original engagement to the Amil of Juanpore, 
with directions to him to see it enforced, and to apprehend 
and send into Benares, to take his trial, any Rajkoomar 
who shall be guilty thereof hereafter : of all which I have 
apprized that body of men accordingly. I have circulated 
a similar subscription in this Pergunnah of Gurwarah, on 
finding that its inhabitants, who are all Doorgavansas, or 
descendants of one common ancestor, called Doorg, are 
addicted more or less to the same practice of destroying 
their female infants."* 

The form of agreement entered into by the Rajkoo- 
mars : — 

** Whereas it hath become known to the Government of the Honour- 
able English East India Company that we of the tribe of Rajkoomars 
do not suffer our female children to live : and whereas this is a great 
crime, as mentioned in the Bretim Bywunt Pooran, where it is said, that 
killing even a foetus is as criminal as killing a Brabmun ; and that for 
killing a female or woman the punishment is to suffer in the nerk or hill 
called Kail Sooter, for as many years as there are hairs on that female's 
body ; and that afterwards that person shall be born again, and succes- 
sively 'become a leper, and be afflicted with the zukhma : and whereas 
the British Government in India, whose subjects we are, have an utter 
detestation of such murderous practices, and we do ourselves acknow- 
ledge that, although customary among us, it is highly sinful, we do 
therefore hereby agree not to commit any longer such detestable acts ; 
and any among us who (which God forbid) shall be hereafter guilty 
thereof, or shall not bring up and get our daughters married, to the best 
of our^ abilities, among those of our caste, shall be expelled from our 
tribe, and we shall neither eat nor keep society with stich person or 

* Par. Papers, 1824, p. 6, 7. 

172 India's CrUs to 

persons, besides su^risg hereafter the puttishments denounced in th« 
above pooran and shaster. We have therefcMre entered into this agree- 
ment; dated 17th of December, 1789."* 

Colonel Walker, in a communication to the Governor of 
Bombay (dated Baroda, December 25th, 1809), specifies 
the Jahrejas of Kattywar who had preserved their female 
children to the amount of thirty- two, and suggested a dis- 
tribution of 14,000 rupees in presents, which was adopted. 
He observes, " During the recent expedition into Kattywar 
I was not unmindful of enquiring into the success of the 
humane arrangements introduced under the influence of 
the Honourable Company's Government, for the abolish- 
ment of female Infanticide among the Jahreja Rajpoots ; 
and I am happy to report that this reform has completely 
taken root. I have the honour to enclose a list of those 
Jahrejas who have preserved their female children, which 
fell under my own direct observance. On my halt at 
Dherole, I had all those in the immediate neighbourhood 
who were capable of attending brought to my tent, and 
many were too young to be brought from any distance. It 
was extremely gratifying on this occasion to observe the 
triumph of nature^ feelingy and parental affection^ over 
prejudice and a horrid superstition ; and that those whOj 
hut a short period before^ would^ a^ many of them had 
done^ have doomed their infants to destruction tmthout 
compunction, should now glory in their preservation, and 
doat on them with fondness ! 

** I respectfully beg leave to submit to the consideration 
of the Honourable the Governor in Council a memorandam 
of a disbursement made in presents to those Jahrejas who 
bad preserved their daughters, and who visited me at Dhe- 
role. The fund from which it is to be defrayed is from the 
Nuzzeranah, exacted from the Chieftain of Goondul, which 
the Honourable the Governor in Council is already ap- 
prized included an amercement for the destruction of the 
feniale infant of that Chieftain's son. This arrangement is 
in conformity to the instruction of the Honourable the 
Governor in Council, and I respectfully trust it will be 
honoured with their approval and sanction.^f 

* Par. Papers, 1824, p. S. For the prevalence of just sentiments in 
the British Courts of Justice in India, see the Regulate of 1795 and 
1799. Par. Papers, 1824, p. 9—11. 

+ Par. Papers, p. 78, 79. 

Brili$h Humomty. 173 

From the Register of the Jidirejas in Kattywar^ June 
1817, it appears that the degpree of success atteniiDg the 
efforts to abolish Infanticide has been much less than might 
have been anticipated. 

Captain Ballantine, in his laudable efforts to abolish this 
inhuman custom, proposed some very effectual plans, and 
presented to the Government a list of the families of the 
Jahrejas with the number of infants saved from 1807 to 
1817. He observes, '' In conformity with the commands of 
the Honourable Court, and those of the Governments in 
India, communicated in your several despatches, my atten- 
tion has since been directed to obtain the best possible data 
to be procured on the humane and interesting subject of 
the Infanticide engagements contracted with the Jahrejas 
of the Peninsula by Colonel Walker in his first circuit in 
Kattywar. In presenting the accompanying complete 
Register of all the Jahrejas known in Kattywar, I have 
the satisfaction to think it will be acceptable, as I believe it 
is the first paper of the kind that has yet been obtained, and 
the more especially as it will form the best basis and data 
on which to watch, with better effect, the progress of an 
Institution which appears to have excited uncommon in- 
terest wherever its extraordinary history has reached ; and 
at the same time the most decided attention of our Govern- 
ments at home and abroad, so as to introduce, by every 
possible means, the best practicable prohibition to the prac- 
tice of the most unparalleled crime, — the systematic murder 
by parents of their own children. It must be received as 
an indubitable testimony that sixty-three female offsprings 
saved, bear no proportion to the probable population of the 
Jahrejas in the Peninsula, xluring the long period of ten 
years, I much fear the object of our interference for the 
s oppression of this singular custom has too generally failed, 
to select any individual party for the just vengeance of Go- 
vernment and offended nature."* 

* Par. Papers^ p. 108. 


India's Cries to 

A complete List, or particular Register, comprising the 
Talookas, &c., of all the Jahrejas at the present day in 
Kattywar; together with the Age and Number of their 
Female Offspring saved^ or now living, since the intro- 
duction of the Infanticide arrangement by Colonel Wal- 
ker in 1807 and 1808. 


In Moorbee 


Villages belonging to 

the Moorbee. 
Madepoory.of Do. 
Surned, of . . Do. 
Bhella Mota. 

R^cote • . 

Tillages belonging to 

the Rajcote 

Ri^cote of Do.... 
Kotarie belonging to 

the Riycote....... 

Gurridur, of Do.. .. 

Ladhekoo,of Rajcote 

Purgunnah M ingvey. 
Thora belonging toDo 
Endoo Do. 

Ambano Do. 

Purgunnah ofRsy poor 
Bhadwa, of Do. 

Kotedoo, of Do. 
Veerwal, of Do. 

Purgunnah Veerpoo. 

Kheyuryoo ,. . 




7 years. 
4 do. 

4 do. 

3 do. 
1 do. 


4 montiis. 

4 months. 
2 do. 

2 do. 

3 do. 







Looney wow 

Hnnmunteyalloo. . 





Surodhur, of Do . . 
Bhungore, of Do.. 
Momanoo, of Do . . 
Guvana, of Do. 
Khurba, of Do. 
MokhanoOy of Do. 
Khnrida a 











Choor , 









5 years. 
15 do. 

2 do. 

6 do. 
6 do. 

6 do. 

1 yr&Omo. 

1 do - 6do. 

2 years. 
6 do. 
6 do. 

6 do. 

6 do. 

7 do. 

5 do. 

4 do. 

6 do. 
2 do. 

8 do. 

2 do. 

5 do. 

7 do. 

3 do. 

7 years. 

4 do. 

2 do. 

11 do. 

* In the Bhull Pergunnah, and her husband is unable to feed her, 
therefore she returned to her father's house. Such a case of poverty is 
truly affecting, and will no doubt claim public attention. There are 
other instances where the parties in distress appealed for support, and 
said they would lay their daughters at the Sirkar's door for the purpose / / 

Briiish Humanity. 







Satoodnr .••.. 












Kurlc Dhrole . 


8 do. 
6 months. 
2 years. 
1 do. 

1 year. 
6 do. 

10 do. 
4 months. 

2 years. 

2 do. 
6 do. 

1 I 2 do. * 




Leyalloa.. .. 

Rejey a 


Megpoor.. .. 







S years. 
10 do. 
14 do. 

9 do. * 


3 do. 

2 ys.6mo. 

Total.... 63f Females 
— saved. 
N. B. This list inclasive of all the 
Jhamfa caste in the Peninsula 
Gamp, Bullumba, June 20, 1817. 

The Par. Papers on Infanticide, printed July, 1828, con- 
tain tables of infants preserved and stated to be alive be- 
longing to the tribe of Jahrejas, in Cutch and Wagur in 
1823, to the number of ninety-one. In 1824 was presented 
to Government a " Statement showing the number of 
Jahreja females bom and preserved in the Western Penin- 
sula of Guzerat. The total number shown consists of 266 
females : sixty- three appear to have been in existence June 
20, 1817 ; the remaining 203 have been bom and preserved 
since ; forty-seven of the whole number have died since 
their birth, twenty-five are married, and 194 are unmarried.^' 
H. Pottinger, Esq., Resident in Cutch, forwarded to Go- 
vernment a list of the female Jahrejas living in Cutch, Jan. 
1, 1826, amounting to 143.* These important data, while 
they show the measure of success attending the efforts to 
abolish Infanticide, painfully demonstrate the continuance 
of the practice, and the necessity of more efficient means 
for its entire abolition. 

The following extract of a treaty of alliance between the 
Hon. East India Company and his Highness Maha Raja 
Mirza Rao Shri Desserljee, Chief of Cutch, dated Oct. 
1819, is interesting: — "The Hon. Company engages to 
exercise no authority over the domestic concerns of the Rao, 
or of those of any of the Jahreja chieftains of the country. 
That the Rao» bis heirs and successors, shall be absolute 

t Par. Papers, p. 110, 111. 

* Par. Papers, 1828, pp. 7, 8, ll— 14, 23—25. 

17(>* Indim's Cries to 

masters of their terntoiy, aud that the civil and criminal 
jurisdiction of the British Government shall not be intro- 
duced therein. 

*' His Highness the Rao, his heirs and successors, at the 
particular instance of the Honourable Company, engage to 
abolish in their own family the prctctice of Infanticide ; 
they also engage to join heartily with the Honourable Com- 
pany in abolishing the custom generally throughout the 
Bhyaud of Cutch. 

'^ Previously to the execution of the deed 6f guarantee in 
favour of Jahreja Byaut, according to the tenor of the six- 
teenth article, a written engagement shall be entered into 
by them to abstain from the practise of Infanticide ; and 
specifying that, in case any of them do practise it, the 
guilty person shall submit to a punishment of any kind that 
may be determined by the Honourable Company's Govern- 
ment and the Cutch Durbar."* 

The Papers on Infanticide, July, 1828, contain a transla- 
tion of an agreement entered into by the Jahrejas of San- 
tulpore for the suppression of Infanticide, dated March 3, 
1827 ; a similar one was entered into by the Jahrejas of 
Cbarchut in June, 1827. For the form of this engagement 
see Par. Papers, p. 29, 30. 

In the abolition of Infanticide at Saugur humanity 
and religion have obtained a noble triumph. The de- 
position, p. 161, shews the nature and extent of the evil ; 
after due investigation of the subject, a proclamation was 
issued by the British Government, A. D. 1802, abolishing 
the practice.f In Dec. 1821, the Secretary to the Com- 
mittee of Management of the Saugur Island Society re- 
ported to the Government that " the practice of immolat- 
ing children had entirely ceased.'^ The following extract 
of an account of a visit to this place by a friend of the 
author's confirms the statement : — 

'< In the beginning of January, 1825, Mr. Williamson, with three of 
the natives, Gorachund, Rotun, and Tanin, went to Gutiga Saugur to be 
present at the great annual assembly there. It is well known that the 
character of this assembly is greatly changed nnce the merciRil and 
Christian measures of the Marquis of Wellesley hare been in force. 
But still it presents a scene of the grossest superstition, and affords a fa- 
vourable opportunity to missionaries of sending far and wide the news of 
salvation. While walking along the beach, they met a man with two 

* Par. Papers, p. 115. 

t See this interesting document Par. Papers^ 1824, p. 137, 138. " In- 
fanticide in India,^^ by the Autiior, p. 64. 

British Humanity. 177 

Ut^e boys, bud asked him what he meant to do with them at Saugur, 
whether he intended giving them Gunga? He replied, NonOf but he had 
made a vow before they were bom, that if Gunga would give him children, 
he would give their juta, that is their matted hair, to her as toon as they 
were able to accompany him* When it was told him that all this was use- 
less, he said, it was agreeable to the sbastras and tlie advice he had re- 
ceived firom the Brahmuns/ 

The folio wiog extract of a letter from Capt H. Hall, 
Snperintendentof Mhairwarra, to Sir C. Metcalfe, Baronet, 
Resident at Delhi, July, 1827, is interesting as showing the 
abolition of Infanticide in the north of India : — • 

*' It is most satisfactory to be able to report the complete 
and voluntary abolition of the two revolting customs, 
female Infanticide and the sale of the women* Both 
crimes were closely connected, having had their origin in 
the heavy expense attending marriage contracts. The 
sums were payable by the male side, ever unalterable, 
equal to the rich and poor, without any abatement whatever 
in favour of the latter. What first established the payment 
is unknown, but it was so sacred, inviolable, and even a 
partial deviation so disgraceful, that the most necessitous of 
the tribe would not incur the imputation. Hence arose as 
decided a right over the persons of women as over cattle 
or other property. They were inherited and disposed of 
accordingly, to the extent even of sons selling their own 
moihers I Hence also arose Infanticide. The sums pay- . 
able were beyond the means of so many, that daughters 
necessarily remained on hand after maturity, entailed im- 
mortal disgrace, and thus imposed a necessity on all female 
progeny of becoming victims to their family honour. 

** On the establishment of British rule, both evils gra- 
dually diminished ! Females were not allowed to be trans- 
ferred, except for conjugal purposes, their consent was to 
be obtained, and their choice consulted ; humane treatment 
was enforced, and the whole system of considering them as 
mere cattle was discouraged. Female Infanticide was at 
once prohibited, and though many, no doubt, still fell secret 
sacrinces from the great facility of undetected destruction, 
*yet the danger, aided by improved feeling, increased the 
survivors so considerably as to force upon the Mhairs a due 
sense of the root of the evil, and a general wish for its re- 
moval, by a reduction of the regulated sum of contract ; 
but they were averse, indeed declared their inability to 
alter their long-established custom themselves, and earnestly 
entreated it might be effected by an order of authority, 


178 India's Cries to 

Undinff all to obedience by heavy penalties. After the 
lapse of a few months^ allowed for consideration, the whole 
was settled in public punchyte, and its resolutions were 
confirmed without the slightest alteration, so that the pro- 
ceeding originated with, and has been carried through by, 
the inhabitants themselves; nor has there been a single 
petition against it, either pending or subsequent to adjust- 
ment. They have lowered the sum payable on marriage- 
contracts, abolished all right of subsequent sale, and fixed 
a yearns imprisonment, or 200 rupees' fine, with exclusion 
firom caste, as the punishment for deviation. The arrange- 
ment is cdculated to give entire satisfaction, leaving nothing 
to be wished ; and a more happy proof of general improve* 
ment could scarcely be adduced, embracing, as it does, in 
its very extensive bearings, the suppression of so much 
crime, immorality, and misery/'* 

The late Bishop Heber, speaking of the Ramayuna festi- 
val at Allahabad, mentions the following important fact: — 
** There was a hideous and accursed practice in * the good 
old times' before the British police was established, at least 
if all which tbe Mussulmans' and English say is to be 
believed, which shows the Hindoo superstition in all its 
horrors. The poor children, Who represented Ram, his 
brother, and Seeta, who had been thus feasted, honoured, 
and made to contribute to the popular amusement, were, it 
is said, always poisoned in the sweetmeats given them the 
last day of the show, that it might be said their spirits were 
absorbed into the deities whom they had represented! 
Nothing of the sort can now be done. The cfaoldren, in- 
stead of being bought for the purpose, from a distance, by 
the priests, are the children of neighbours, whose prior and 
subsequent history is known ; and Ram and Seeta now grow 
old like other boys and girls."t 

In Ceylon Infanticide has been abolished by the follow- 
ing Proclamation of the British Government: — '^ In the 
name of his Majesty Greorge the Fourth, of the United 
Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland, King, Defender 
the Faith, We, the Honourable Major-General Sir 
Edward Barnes, Knight Commander of the Most Ho- 
nourable Military Order of the Bath, lieutenant Gt>vernor 
and Commander-in-chief in and over the British settlements 
and territories in the Island of Ceylon, with the dependen- 

* Par. Papers, 1828, p. 37, 38. t Journal, vol. i. p. 338. 

Briti9h Humanity, 170 

Gies thereof, do liefeby proclaim* in order that no one may 
pretend ignorance of the law— That any person, whether 
being the parent or any other, who shaU kill any child of 
whatever age, within the Kandyan Proyinces, shall and wiU 
be equally ponished with death as for the mnrdeff of a 
grown up person ; and no plea will be admitted ia any ex«- 
tenuation of any barbarous usage or custom of this descrip* 
tion hairing prevailed, the same being whoUy contrary to the 
ancient laws of the kingdom of Kandy . Given at Columbo, 
in the said Island of Ceylon, the twenty-fifth day of Sep* 
tember, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred 
and twenty-one/'* 

In the Island of Owhyhee, or Hawaii, the recent triumph 
of Christianity in the abolition of Infanticide and other in- 
human customs presents a subject of the most grateful 
nature for the contemplation of the friends of humanity and 
religion. See EUis's Tons through Hawaii (London), 1826, 
pp. 287—306. 

The difficulties attending the entire abolition of Infanti^ 
cide in India are considerable. We have seen the efforts 
of the Persians and Syracusans to destroy this cruel cus- 
tom among the Carthagimtuis, yet RoUin observes — ^' It 
appears from Tertullian's Apology that this barbarous cus- 
tom prevailed in Africa, long after the ruin of Carthage. 
' Infantes penes Afiricam Satumo immolabantur palam usque 
ad proconsulatum Tiberii, qui eosdem sacerdotes in eisdem 
arboribus templi sui obumbraticibus scelerum votivis cruoi* 
bus exposuit, teste militia patriae nostras, quas id ipsum mu- 
nns illi proconsuli functa est ; — children were publicly sacri* 
ficed to Saturn, down to the proconsulship of Tiberius, who 
hanged the sacrificing priests themselves on the tress 
which shaded their temples as on so many crosses raised to 
expiate their crimes, of which the militia of our country are 
witnesses, who were the actors of this execution at the com- 
mand of the Proconsul."t 

The propensity of the Israelites to adopt tiie sanguinary 
customs of the original inhabitants of Canaan is frequently 
noticed in the sacred Scriptures. *' Enflaming yourselves 
with idols under every green tree ; slaying the chudren in the 
valleys under the difts of the rocks." laa. Ivii. 6. — "In thy 
skirts is found the blood of the poor innocents ; 1 have not 

* Asiatic Journ. Sep. 1822. 

t Tertul. Apol. c. 9, RoUin's Anc. Hist. b. i. p. 100. 

N 2 

180 India^M Cfiet to 

found it by secret search, bat apon all these." Jer. ii. 84.--* 
** They have forsaken me and have estranged this place, and 
have burned incense in it unto other gods, whom neither they 
nor their fathers have known, nor the kings of Judah, and 
haye filled this place with the blood of innocents ; they have 
built also the high places of Baal, to bum their sons with 
fire for burat-oflerings unto Baal, which I commanded not, 
nor spake, neither came it into my mind.'' Jer. xix. 4, 5. 
So also the prophet Ezekiel : " Thou hast taken thy sons 
and thy daughters whom thou hast borne unto me, and 
these hast thou sacrificed unto them to be devoured. Is 
this of thy whoredoms a small matter, that thou hast slain 
my chUdren, and delivered them to cause them to pass 
through the fire for them ?" Ezek. xvi. 20, 21. This cus- 
tom is found among the people who were transplanted to 
the cities of Samaria by the king of Assyria, and they con- 
tinued the practice though in a strange land : — '' Every na* 
tion made gods of their own, and put them in the houses of 
the high places which the Samaritans had made, eveiy 
nation in their cities wherein they dwelt. And the men of 
Babylon made Succoth-benoth, and the men of Cuth made 
Nergal, and the men of Hamath made Ashima, and the 
Avites made Nibbaz and Tartak, and the Sepharvites burnt 
their children in fire to Adrammelech and Anammelech the 
gods of Sepharvaim." 2 Kings xvii. 29 — 31. 

The Par. Papers on Infanticide show that considerable 
difiiculties have been experienced in prosecuting the at- 
tempts for the abolition of this horrid superstition ; and it 
is proper that these difiiculties should be known, to chasten 
our sanguine expectation of success, and to arm to per- 
severance and fortitude. Lord Teignmouth, in a paper on 
the Customs and IVactices of the Hindoos, justly ob- 
serves : — 

** A prohibition, enforced by the denunciation of the 
severest temporal penalties, would have little efficacy in 
abolishing a custom which existed in opposition to the feeU 
ings of humanity and natural aflection ; and tJie sanction 
(^ that religion which the Rajkooma/r^ professed uhzs op- 
pealed to in aid of the ordincunces ^ civil authority ; 
upon this principle, an engagement, binding themselves to 
desist in future from the b^arous practice of causing the 
de^th of their female children, was prepared, and circulated 
among the Rajkoomars for their signature ; and as it was 
also discovered that the same custom prevailed, though 

British Humanity. 181 

in a less degree, among a smaller tribe of peoj>le, also within 
the province of Benares, called Bajebunses, measures were 
adopted at the same time to make them sensible of its ini- 
quity, and to procure from them a subscription similar to 
that exacted from the Rajkoomars."* 

" The practice,*' says W. Cracroft, Esq., Magistrate of 
Juanpore, May, 1819, *^ arises from the difficulty the Raj- 
koomars experience in procuring husbands for their 
daughters. The only tribes who will receive Rajkoomar 
females as wives are the Bisen, and Soreej Buns, of 60- 
ruckpore, and the Gurwars of Mirzapore, and the Boghel 
of Rewah ; and these tribes, from an idea of their supe- 
riority, will not admit a Rajkoomar female, without re- 
ceiving a very large dowry with her. They intermarry 
among each other, and feel no want of the Rajkoomar 
females to keep up their race. Until this obstacle can be 
removed, or some other means devised for providing hus- 
bands for the females of the Rajkoomar tribe, all efforts 
must, in my opinion, fail of checking the practice. No 
doubt can exist as to the propriety, indeed the necessity, of 
attempting to restrain it in some manner; but it appears 
doubtful whether severe punishment would have that effect. 
Hitherto no magistrate has ever apprehended or committed 
any individual on* a charge of this kind ; and I do not doubt 
that this has been avoided by design, for the instances are 
too frequent to admit the possibility of their evading proof, 
had a strict search been often made for that purpose. I 
wish to be favoured with your opinion, and to have the 
directions of Government previously to taking any steps in 
a case which involves so many difficulties."t 

" I entered on this undertaking," says Colonel Walker, 
^'with sanguine expectations of success, but which were 
for a long time disappointed ; and I must own that the 
natives had formed much more just opinions on the subject, 
when they foretold the difficulties that would attend the at- 
tempt, which few of them thought could be overcome but 
by the Company making a conquest of the country. I con- 
ceived that reason and feeling would effect the relinquishment 
of a barbarous custom unconnected with the principles 
of society, and which all the passions of the human mind, 
and all the forms and maxims of religion, were combined 

*Par. Papeps, 1824,,p. 9. Asiatic Researches, vol. iv. 
f Par. Papers, p. 15, 16. 

183 India's Cries io 

to destroy. As it was evident also that the most disio- 
terested humanity had led the Honourable Company to 
interfere for the abolition of female Infanticide, I con- 
ceived that this reflection, and the respect due to their me- 
diation, would have disposed the Jahrejas to comply with a 
request which it was scarcely to be supposed could be at 
variance with their own sentiments. But sentiments of 
nature and humanity ham no influence with the Jahrejas ; 
and I was soon, however reluctantly, obliged to relinquish 
the favourable expectations I had formed of success. The 
difficulties were many and formidable."* 

The Governor of Bombay, the Honourable M. Elphin- 
stone, expresses himself in the language of despondency^ 
and unbecoming the high ground obtained by engagements 
and treaty with the abettors of this inhuman custom. 
** There is one point of great importance in which we are 
already entitled to exercise the right of general superin- 
tendence. This is in checking the crime of female Infanti- 
cide, and in imposing the fines authorized by Colonel 
Walker^s agreements on those who may be guilty of it. It 
is greatly to be regretted that the difficulty of detection 
should secure the pepetrators of this crime so effectually 
from punishment as to render the article against it a dead 
letter I There has been no instance of punishment for In- 
fanticide since the agreements were concluded ; and this is 
so far from being owing to the diminution of the crime, 
that, from the best information Major Ballantine could ob- 
tain, it would appear that not more than 100 females born 
since the agreement are now in eanstence, and it is not easy 
to say how many of these might have been spared if the 
engagement had never been entered into. No effectual 
check can be imposed on this atrocious practice so long as 
it is so completely congenial to the general feeling of the 
people ; unless, by employing hired agents, as proposed by 
Major Ballantine, whose duty it should be to detect offenders 
of this description ; and such a measure would lead to so 
much intrusion into the most private and domestic proceed- 
ings of the superior castes (among whom alone Infanticide 
prevails), and would be open to so many abuses on the part 
of the informers, that I do not think the chance of success 
would compensate for the disaffection which it would 
create. It may also be doubted how far we have a right 

♦ Par. Papers, p. 46. See p. 97. 

British Humamiy. 183 

to interfere to sach an extraordinary pitch with the private 
life of a people with whose civil government and internal 
police we do not pretend to have any concern. We mnfit 
therefore be content to follow the footsteps of our predeces- 
sors (without attempting to go beyond tbem) in their most 
meritorious endeavours to discountenance this enormity; 
and we may safely flatter ourselves, that, as the manners of 
the people become softened by a continuance of tranquillity 
and good order, they will gradually discontinue a practice 
which is not more inconsistent with reason than repugnant 
to natural instinct."'"' Jan. 1821. 

The Par. Papers of 1828 contain the following remarks 
by the Political Agent in Kattywar, dated July, 1824 : — 
** The principal obstacle to be overcome in rendering the 
engagements effectual is the difficulty in detecting those 
concerned in the perpetration of the crime ; so long as the 
feelings and interests of the people render them disinclined 
to afford aid in discovering it, few are prompted to make it 
known by a sense of humanity, or even of interest Though 
all classes are ready to admit the barbarity of the practice, 
still they view it with so passive a spirit that they feel in- 
disposed to encounter the odium or animosity that the con- 
sequences of a disclosure might occasion. A constant 
intercourse with the Jahrejas, during my annual circuit, has 
given me opportunities of impressing on their minds the 
interest taken by the British Government in the suppression 
of this unnatural practice, and the guilt attached to the 
commission of it by the dictates of their own religion. I 
received continued assurances that they will discountenance 
it; hnUJrom the disproportionate number of females stili 
existing y it is evident that^ although this horrible practice 
may be somewhat subdued^ it is still far from being re» 

** The minds and opinions of the tribe do not appear to 
have undergone that change on the subject that will alone 
overcome the existence of a custom so unnatural. The 
effects of the penalties enjoined by the engagements entered 
into by the Jahrejas would operate in deterring from the 
commission of the crime, if the means of detection existed, 
or its discovery was not opposed by difficulties that defeat 
the utmost vigilance. Proving it is almost impracticable, 
unless some part of the domestic establishment of a Jahreja 

* Par^ Papers, p. 116. 

184 India's Cries to 

betray him, a circmnstaoce that seldom can be expected, 
as the domestic servants are generally the old adherents 
and dependants of his family."* . 

These various statements will prepare the reader to pe* 
ruse with interest the concluding chapter of this book. The 
ancient Law of God to the Sons of Noah was, ** At the 
hand of every man's brother will I require the life of man." 
If Infanticide be not punished in this manner, is it to be 
doubted whether or not, Britain should ** make inquisition 
for blood ?" How long is this feeble, temporizing system 
to continue? Are we " entitled to exercise the right of 
general superintendence,^ and shall we shrink from it, and 
thus be '' partakers in other men's sins V* Let our motta 
be, " Be just and fear not." 


T%e necessity and propriety erf adopting measures for tlie 
entire and immediate abolition of Infanticide — decisive 
steps requisite — objections answered— facilities enjoyed 
for its abolition — concluding remarks. 

It is grateful to the friends of humanity, and confers a 
lustre on the British character, that effectual steps have 
been taken to abolish some of the cruel customs cf India. 
It is, however, to be regretted that what has commenced so 
well has not been carried forward to the complete annihi- 
lation of every practice opposed to the natural dictates of 
humanity. " Usages," observes Lord Teignmouth, " origi- 
nating in Hindoo superstition and customs of immemorial 
prescription have been discountenanced by the British 
Administration in Bengal ; while the laws of the Mahome- 
dans, which derive their authority from the Koran, have 
been modified, or, in effect, altered, in various instances^ 
The financial system, which prevailed in Bengal when the 
East India Company undertook the exercise of the De> 
wanny functions, was a system of undefined exactions and 

* Par. Pap€i»>1828, p. 10. 

British Humanity. 185 

arbitrary oppression, supported by the most rigoroas rules 
of practice ; and the British are entitled to the merit of hav- 
ing annihilated it. The corahs or whip, under the Maho- 
medan Government, was considered a necessary appendage 
in the country courts, where the collections were made; 
and the application of it was incessant and severe. A prac- 
tice adopted on the authority of these ancient rules would 
be severely punished by the Administration, which has 
wisely and humanely abolished them. Thus the former 
customs (particularly in the collection of the land revenue) 
have undergone a total alteration, to the great benefit of the 
community. Let it, however, be observed, that the Regu- 
lations, which, by deviating from ancient rules, have contri- 
buted so much to the happiness of the people, were in many 
instances, at the time of their establishment, considered as 
hazardous innovations, repugnant to the feelings and pre- 
judices of the natives of the highest cicuts"* 

Colonel Walker thus describes the steps so successfully 
taken by him for the abolition of Infanticide in Katty war. ^ 

" I had been for several years in habits of friendly correspondence 
with Jehajee, the chief of Moorbee, and he had continually expressed a 
strong desire to cultivate the favour of the English Government. The 
artifices of this chief and his vakeel, v?ho resided in camp, deceived and 
amused me for some time with promises which proved fallacious. I 
availed myself of the agency and influence of Soonderjee Sewjee, after 
his arrival in camp, but with no better success. At last Jehajee trans- 
mitted a paper, in which he offered to accede to my wishes by preserv- 
ing his daughters, provided I would reduce Malliay and restore the village 
of Kuralloy of which he had been deprived by the Guicowar government! 
The possession of this paper I conceived of importance, as it discovered 
the selfiih and mercenary motives that attached the Jahrejas to Infan- 
ticide. I preserved it as a testimony which reflected on their pre- 
tences of the inviolability of the practice as a custom of the caste, and 
destroyed every argument which they had attempted to found on principle. 
When Jehajee perceived the disadvantage which attended the possession 
of this paper, he made several applications to induce me to restore it, 
with which I did not comply. It was also evident that it would be very 
difficult to awaken their natural feelings; and that the same motives 
of interest would have more influence in inducing them to relinquish the 
practice than any arguments derived from humanity, morality, or religion. 
It appeared likewise, from the communications of Jehajee and others, 
that the reproach of being the first to renounce an ancient practice 
operated as a considerable motive. The authority of this example could 
not be complete unless it were set by a chief of acknowledged rank and 

* Considerations on communicating to the Natives of India the bless*- 
ings of Christianity. Hatchard, 1808, pp. 23—36. 

186 India's Cries to 

** The Rao of Catch seemed to possess these qualifications from his 
family, and extent of territory. I was induced, therefore, to select this 
chieftain ; but addressed myself principally to Futteh Mahomed, whose 
authority is paramount in that country, and from whom, as a zealous 
Mahomedan, I was led to expect the exertion of his influence for sup- 
pressing a crime against nature and religion. The answer, however, of 
futteh Mahomed destroyed every hope of success from that quarter. 
This Jemader, who rose from the humble station of a goatherd, and is 
extremely illiterate, had the sentiments of his letter probably dicated to 
him, and by the hand of his writer transmitted, in an inflated and osten- 
tatious style, an elaborate defence of the practice of Infanticide, such as 
could be expected to proceed only from a bigotted Jahreja. In the mean 
while every effort was continued to prevail on the Moorbee chief to 
abandon Infanticide, which the long detention of the detachment in the 
vicinity of that city afforded. It was the daily subject of letters, mes- 
sages, and conferences. 

'* The humanity and tenderness congenial to the sex induced me to 
expect the assistance of the women of Jehajee's family. The preserva- 
tion of their offspring appeared peculiarly their business. I conceived 
that my appeal to wives and mothers, and to women who came from 
tribes who rejected Infanticide, would be attended with every advantage. 
I was further led to entertain great hopes of this plan, on account of the 
high character of the mother of the chief of Moorbee for prudence, pro- 
prie^ of conduct, and a benevolent disposition. As this lady possessed 
considerable influence over her son, I expected that she would exert it 
in favour of a measure agreeable to her own feelings. The embarrassed 
state of Jehajee*s affairs, and the countenance which he stood in need of 
from me for retrieving them, were circumstances which I conceived 
would occur to the discretion of his mother, and urge her to obtain from 
her son a concession which might give the family a claim to my support. 
My overtures to this lady were, at first, received with the feelings natural 
to her sex, and she seemed disposed, with the rest of the women, who 
held several consultations together on the subject, to unite their influence 
for the abolition of Infanticide. But these ebullitions were of short du- 
ration; the Jahrejas were alarmed, and the women contended for the 
ancient privilege of the caste : they were led away from the path of nature 
by the influence of their husbands. The mother of the chief of Moorbee 
requested that she might be excused soliciting her son on this head^ and 
referred me for further information to Jehajee. 

" At this period my prospect of success was very obscure and distant. 
Although these efforts, however, had failed of their effect, they were 
useful, and paved the way for success, by turning the attention of the 
country to a subject which had never before appeared to engage notice. 
By discussiug the subject frequently in the public Cutcherry, and exposing 
the enormity of the practice, as contrary to the precepts of religion and 
the dictates of naturey every caste came to express an abhorrence of Infan- 
ticide, and the inveterate prejudices of the Jahrejas began to be shaken, 

''But, whatever influence these circumstances; might produce, as Je- 
hajee was the first chief whom I had addressed on the subject, it was of 
the utmost importance to make some impression on him. I bent every 
exertion, therefore, and tried various expedients to reclaim this chief, 
who had already destroyed two of his daughters, from the practice of 
Infanticide. At last I obtained from Jehajee a conditional writing to 
the following effect:— 'From motives of friendship, the Honourable 

British Humanity. 187 

pompan^ have urged me to preserve my daughters : to this I consent, 
if the chief of Nowanugger and Gondul agree.' This was the first con- 
siderable step towards the attainment of this great object, and the writing 
appeared to reduce the question to a kind of point of honour, or respect 
for antiquity, in setting the example of sanctioning an innovation on a 
general habit. From the character and behaviour of Jam I could have 
no hopes that he would set this example ; but, as the family of Dewajee 
of Oondul had already preserved several of their daughters, I was led 
to entertain the most favourable expectations from the general disposi- 
tion of this chief, and his reputation for humanity. It may be proper 
to mention that Jehajee first proposed to insert the names of the Rao of 
Cutch, and Jam of Wowanugger in his writing ; but I positively refused 
to take the paper unless it comprised Dewajee of Gondul. The com- 
pliance of Jehajee with this request it may be but fair to consider as a 
favourable indication of his sentiments \ and that he was secretly, though 
not extremely, inclined to agree to the abolishing of In&nticide. It may 
be presumed that he was acquainted with the disposition of Dewajee, 
and of the general opinion that this chief, when pressed, would renounce 
the practice of killing his daughters. From Dessajee of Mallia I ob- 
tained a similar writing to that received from the chief of Moorbee. I 
had conceived great expectations from Dessajee, who had preserved a 
daughter, and had by his vakeel afforded repeated assurance that he 
was ready to renounce Infanticide ; but it is remarkable that this chief 
used every evasion and delay to avoid executing a formal deed in re- 
nunciation of the practice. 

" The narrative must now accompany the operations of the detach- 
ment which traversed the country of Jam, and arrived at Kundorera. I 
employed this time, as often as opportunity permitted, in favour of the 
design for abolishing Infanticide. Wassonjee Eswurjee, the vakeel of 
the Gondul chief, residing in camp, enabled me frequently to converse 
with him on the subject ; and this respectable Brahmun was easily pre- 
vailed on to unite his influence with mine, in order to prevail on his 
master to enter into a formal obligation for abolishing Infanticide. During 
these events Wassonjee had occasion to proceed to Gondul on some 
revenue affairs, and before his departure he privately gave me such as- 
surance as I conceived might be confided in, that he would obtain from 
Dewagee authority, on his return, to enter into any engagements which 
might be required for preserving the daughters of the JsJirejas residing 
in that part of the country. The mission of Wassonjee Eswurjee was 
entirely successful ; and on his return to camp, after expressing the re- 
luctance of his master to set an example which might bring on him the 
reproach of his caste, a deed of the most solemn, effectual, and binding 
nature was executed, renouncing for ever the practice of Infanticide. 
" The following is a translation of this instrupient : — 
" Whereas the Honourable English Company, and Anund Kow Gui- 
cowar, Sena Khaskel Shamsher Bahadur, having set forth to us the dic- 
tates of the shastras, and the true iaith of the Hindoos, as well as that 
the Brimhaway Wurtuch Pooran declares the killing of children to be a 
heinous sin, it being written that it is as great an offence to kill an em- 
bryo as a Brahmun, that to kill one woman is as great a sin as killing 
100 Brahmuns ; that to put one child to death is as great a transgression 
against the divine laws as to kill 100 women; and that the perpetrators 
of this sin shall be damned to the hell Rule Sootheeta, where he shall 
be infested with as many maggots as he may have hairs on his body ; 

188 Indians Cries to 

be bom again a leper, and debilitated in all bis members ; We, Jahreja 
Dewajee, and Coer Nuthoo, Zemindars of Gondul (the custom of femaJe 
Infanticide having long prevailed in our caste), do hereby agree for our* 
selves and for our offspring, as also we bind ourselves hi bNehalf of our 
relations and their ofispring for ever, for the sake of our own prosperity, 
and for the credit of tne Hindoo faith, that we shall from this day re- 
nounce this practice, and, in doubt of this, that we acknowledge our^^ 
selves offenders against the Sircars. Moreover, should any one in future 
commit this offence we shall expel him from our caste, and he shall be 
punished according to the pleasure of the two Governments, and the 
rule of the shastras. 

'* The above writing is duly executed. With the exception of Jam, 
every Jahreja chief readily, and without offering a single oojection, sub- 
scribed to a counterpart of this instrument/'* 

In the Bengal Presidency, the proceedings of Govern- 
ment were considered sufficiently explicit and authoritative 
to suppress this unnatural custom. The Sup. of Police 
addresses the Chief Secretary of Government, May, 1819, 
" Sec. 11, Reg. III. 1804, already provides for the punish* 
ment of Infanticide, and it is clearly inexpedient that the 
Legislature should interfere in any other manner; the 
practice being declared a crimcy it is the duty of the Ma^ 
gistrate to do his utmost to convict those who stiU persist 
in «Y."t The prevalence of this custom in the Bengal 
Presidency, under such circumstances, is a source of deep 
regret, and demonstrates the necessity of some more effici- 
ent measures for its suppression; while it shows the de- 
fective moral influence of heathenism, in restraining from 
the perpatration of the most unnatural crimes. 

More efficient plans have been proposed for the entire 
aholition of Irfanticide in India. " His Lordship in 
council regrets to observe (says the Sec. to the Bengal 
Government, Aug., 1816), from the remarks contained^ in 
your Report, which are, in fact, confirmed by information 
received from your official sources, that the measures 
adopted by Mr. Duncan, when President at Benares, and 
the provisions of Reg. XXI. 1793, and Sec. 11, Reg. III. 
1804, have failed to prevent the inhuman practice which 
exists among the RajkoomarSy and some other tribes of 
Rajpoots^ of destroying their female infants ; and that, 
although a greater degree of precaution is now observed 
to prevent detection, there is too much reason to fear that 
the crime itself has not in any degree diminished ! The at- 
tention of the Nizamut Adawlut will be directed to the 

♦ Par. Papers, 1824^pp. 46— 49. f P- 1^- 

British Humanity. 189 

subject of the paragraph above specified, and they will be 
desired, after obtainiDg what farther infonnation the local 
authorities may be able to furnish, to offer such suggestions 
as may s^pear to them calculated for the more effectual pre- 
yention of this dreadful crime, and for the detection and 
punishment of those who may be guilty of it/** 

''We are sensible (says the Honourable Governor of 
Bombay, in a Minute respecting Infanticide, in 1808) that 
it must require the vigilant and concurrent attention o^ the 
Government of the Guicowar and of the Honourable 
Company to ensure, especially during the first years, the 
faithful adherence of die several parties to the s^utary sti- 
pulations to which they have thus been brought to subscribe : 
but we rely on the zeal of the Resident, who will not fail 
to stimulate the native administration of Baroda, and, 
tibrough it, their officers in Kattywar, to attend to and 
make periodical reports of the effects of the new system 
thus happily introduced; which, if allowed to operate, 
miist soon become manifest in the number of female chil- 
dren which every Jahreja house may soon be known to 
contain. On the other hand, the want of such indication 
will constitute engagements, which, in the present instance^ 
ought not to he treated with much indulgence j hut rather 
punished hy a moderate fine^ to be always imposed with 
the privity of the British Government, through the Resi- 
dent ; and the amount of which, to be applied to the relief 
of those among the more indigent classes of the Jahrejas 
who shall be known to fulfil and adhere to the letter and 
spirit of their engagements ; or otherwise, by the infliction 
of such other penalty as the local authorities may deem the 
most impressive, and likely to ensure the attainment of an 
object so highly salutary and indispensable in all respects, 
as is the extirpation of the baneful practice of Infanticide 
from all the districts of Kattywar, with an ultimate view to 
the same humane object in Cutch. It is accordingly de- 
sired that the Resident will concert with the Guicowar 
government the best means for obtaining periodical notices 
of the operation of the obligations; making it also a rule 
to submit (exclusive of such intermediate reports as may 
become necessary) one general statement on the last day 
of each year, how far me amended system has been acted 
on and observed ; what deviations are known or suspected 

♦ Par. Papers, 1824, p. 14. 

190 India's Cries to 

to have been made from its rules, and what measures por* 
sued for their enforcement ; the whole to be accompanied 
with an estimate of the number of lives that may, under 
the blessing of Divine Providence, be thus ultimately saved 
to the community."* 

Captain Ballantioe writes, July 1816, — ** The increasing 
interest with which the entire abolition (of Infanticide) is 
viewed by the British Government, and community in 
general, suggests to me the propriety of offering for your 
consideration, and the sanction of the Right Honourable 
the Governor in Council, a more efficient means of prose- 
cutinff, wnder our oitm immediate supervision^ every pos» 
sible channel by which to detect any deviation Jrom these 
solemn engagements. I have not relaxed on any occasion 
to impress on the minds of the Guicowar officers the com* 
mon interest with which the entire abolition of the pxaotiee 
is considered; and, although my applications have not 
been successful, it is in justice to them to be observed that 
most of the principal Jahreja chiefs situated in Halaur, &o., 
have been amenable to the Paishwa's authority, which, com* 
bined with the causes above adverted to, is entitled to due 
consideration. / have therefore to solicit permission to 
entertain such a/n establishment as may be considered 
equal to the full accomplishment of this interesting and 
humane object. It is known to you that in the detection of 
any case of delinquency, as in those enumerated by Colonel 
Walker, a fine proportioned to the case, and the ability of 
the parties, is imposed ; nor may it seem, I would respect- 
fully observe, objectionable that the public expense on this 
account should be reimbursed from the same source. 

'' The means for detection must of course be by clandes* 
tine intercourse with the parties and surrounding inhabi- 
tants, and to which end persons so deputed must remain for 
some time on the spot. Guzurattee mehtas, or writers, are 
the proper persons to be employed on this duty ; they were 
employed by the native Government fn these duties, and 
the present number to be selected for this important duty 
should not be less than five at fifty rupees per mensem.^f 

The Eesident at Baroda, in 1816, J. B. Carnac, Esq., 
accords with the propriety of these suggestions : — '^ The 
Jahrejas, though proud, are, like the other natives of India, 
very avaricious. The object which could not be gained by 

* Par. Papers, p. 70. f Par. Papers, p. 98. 

British Humamiy. 191 

speaking to then: feelings migbt be effected by working on 
their disposition. The reward of a hundred rupees, to him 
who could satisfactorily establish in another the perpe- 
traction of Infanticide^ might bring to light wumerotis cir- 
cumstances of which we notv remain in ignorance. Nor 
would the expense of such renranerations fall on either the 
Native or British GoyemmeBts. By the bond to which 
the Jahrejas have sabscribed they have rendered themselves 
liable to punishment at the will of the Sircar ; and it could 
not be considered a severe punishment to insist on the pay* 
ment of a fine which would more than defray the charges 
attendant on receiving the information of their guilt. It 
may not be deemed irrelevant to furnish Government with 
what I conceive an adequate scale of rewards and punish* 
ments; an informer against the Jam should receive 1000 
rupees ; against the inferior Rajahs 500 ; against their 
near relations 250 ; and against a poor Jahreja 100. The 
Jam, if proved guilty, should be fined 30,000 rupees ; an 
inferior Rajah 10,000; their near relations 2500, and a 
poor Jahreja as much as he could pay without ruin. The 
difficulty of inducing any one to come forward against so 
powerful a man as the Jam renders it necessary that his 
* reward should be liberal ; and, for the sake of example, it 
is desirable that a person in his high station should be de* 
tected and severely punished. The pride of the lower 
Jahrejas is to support the customs of their clan, and to 
follow the steps of their great relations in every act. We 
can never therefore expect the practice of Infanticide to 
be fairly laid. aside till the principal Jahrejas are either 
induced or forced to set the example; I have therefore 
stated the reward of the informer against the Jam, and the 
punishment of that chieftain, at a high rate.""*^ 

The measures here proposed are desirable and necessary. 
The Honourable Court of Directors observe vol a letter to 
the Governor of Bombay, March, 1816, referring to an 
enquiry of the Resident at Baroda, to ascertain and report 
whether the practice had been discontinued wholly or in 
part in Cuteh, and whether it had entirely ceased within 
the province of Kattywar: *'Most sincerely do we wish 
that that report may prove satisfactory ; and we must again 
enjoin you, in the most serious and earnest manner, to be 
unremitting in your endeavours to accomplish this humane 

* Par. Papers, p. 103, see p. 114, and Par. Papers, 1828, p. 15. 

192 India's Cries to 

otject in the countries where the British influence can he, 
felt or exerted.^'*^ 

The Honourable Governor of Bombay, in Camp Jan. 
1821, remarks : — '' The three most probable points of dif- 
ference with the Jahrejas are settling their disputes among 
themselves, enforcing the prohibition of female Infanticide, 
and compelling them to act against plunderers in their own 
districts. In the first, all danger may be averted by the 
prompt and impartial administration of justice; in the 
second, by caution and delicacy in the means of detecting 
guilt, and moderation in punishing it. The third is an ob- 
ject of great importance ; it is more likely to be obtained 
by vigilance than severity, by explaining what is expected, 
censuring neglect, and compelling restitution, with the ad- 
dition of a fine as the punishment of participation."t The 
prompt and impartial administration of justice towards the 
perpetrators of child murder, appears far more desirable 
and necessary than the caution of delicacy here enjoined. 
Why such tender treatment of acts of murder? Why 
such false delicacy to search out iniquity and make '* inqui- 
sition for blood r' Surely this conduct is unbecoming 
the British and Christian character. 

Colonel Walker, on returning from India, still deeply 
interested in the success of his humane efibrts, addressed 
the Honourable Court of Directors, July, 1819, to tbe fol- 
lowing efiect : — 

^ In offering my opinion upon the means of suppressing female Infanti- 
cide in the West of India I must first observe that this object should be 
accomplished without violating the feelings of the natives, and without hav- 
ing recourse to actual coercion. I must also beg to refer to my own pro- 
ceedings, which succeeded in obtaining the consent of the people to relin- 
2uish this barbarous and unnatural practice. It was accomplished, no 
oubt, with great difficulty, but it was so far a spontaneous act that it was 
solely effected by persuasion and reason. It is under this influence alone 
that the measure can ultimately be expected to prove successful ; but, 
from the peculiar habits of the people of this part of India, the practice of 
destroying the children cannot be overcome by the mere dictates of 
natural aJection. When this tie was once abandoned, it would be 
long before it could be again recovered ; and it would be necessary 
that they should be continually watched, and urged to the performance 
of a duty which is seldom neglected even by the brutes I It was foreseen 
that the mere engagement which these people had contracted for discon- 
tinuing Infiinticide, however solemn and authentic, would not be suffi- 
cient unless they were looked after with vigilance ; unless they were fre- 
quently encouraged ; and unless those instances in which they infringed 
their own voluntary engagement were detected and punished. This mode 

.* Par. Papers, p. 94. 99, f p. 117. 

British Humanity, 193 

of punishment was provided by their agreement. I am persuaded that 
a system of this kind would have succeeded, and have preserved, in a 
great degree, the engagement inviolate for the abolition of Infanticide. 

*' It was under the influence of a similar train of reflection that I sug- 
gested to the Government, when I quitted India, to exact an annual 
report of the progress of Infanticide, and that it should be the object 
of continual care and solicitude. Before I retired from the service I 
had the satisfaction to see that the principles for its abolition had 
made no slight impression on the minds of the people, and in a short 
period they had saved a considerable number of infants. But, from 
the report which has now been received from India, it would appear 
that the whole munber »aved in the courte of ten years it little more 
than SIXTY ! and perhaps not a third more than were presented by 
their parents to me in Kattywar with feelings of affection and delight. 

'< The first circumstance which requires attention is to tee the people 
often, and by a frequent intercourse to inspire them with sentiments more 
j'avourable to humanity. It is scarcely to be expected that the Jahre- 
jas will seek our society with greater encouragement than it is the habit 
of our country men, generally speaking, to afford to the natives of India, 
and we must therefore visit them in their villages. They must be 
sought out in their recesses, invited to attend the public (Jutcherries, 
and the subject brought as of%en as possible under public discussion. 
In these situations opportunities would frequently arise of enforcing the 
heinous nature of the offence, of calmly discussing its tendency, of ex- 
posing its crime, and of contrasting the abominable practice with the 
universally contrary usage of the rest of mankind. By the effect of ex- 
ample, by the force of conversation, and by diffusing good and just no- 
tions of human nature, these men would be gradually alienated from 
their absurd and guilty conduct. In every attempt to arrest this crime, 
the Brahmuns, and] the precepts of the Hindoo religion, would be a 
powerful aid. That relijjion is directly opposed to the practice, and I 
always found the Brahmuns most willing coadjutors in this cause of 
humanity. It is not founded on religion ; it is disavowed by the great 
body of the people, and prevails only among a single tribe. 

** They would not withstand any systematic exertion which might be 
directed to its overthrow : and, in fact, did it not yield to an attempt 
which was made in a doubtful situation, amidst a multitude of other occu- 
pations, and which was not pursued for a long time ? The same facilities, 
and greater, now exist to insure success. The Guicawar authority may 
be disposed more readily to co-operate with us, while our own is better 
established, and while we possess an actual share in the government of the 
country. The collector of the newly-acquired revenue in Kattywar 
would be a natural and an essential agent in this humane work. By 
means of the police, which is under his control, and by the frequent in- 
tercourse which his office obliges him to hold with the natives, he would 
have opportunities of communication superior, perhaps, to any other 
person. Let the collector, the agent in Kattywar, the agent in Cutch, and 
the Guicawar authorities, heartily, and in concert, exert themselves, and 
they would be irresistible. But X would not rest the success of this in- 
teresting measure on violence alone, and the active use of even all the 
agents in our power. I would employ other stimuli, and not neglect 
those that may be calculated to produce an effect on the grosser passions 
of those who persevere in the practice of Infanticide. I would not en- 
courage the idea of an expensive agency, nor the direct and professed' 


194 India^i Cries io 

en^ployineDt of spies, which are more likely to defeat than to promote 
the object ; but there are, surely, means of ascertaining the result of a 
birth in a family, without either offending its delicacy, or requiring much 
expense. The fact of a pregnancy is always public, and the report of 
the neighbours would often be sufficient evidence. A few detections 
would arrest the practice. If the intercourse-were^ as frequent as I have 
recommended, many things would be casually learnt, and little indeed 
could be concealed. In the course of this intercourse many acts of 
friendship, of courtesy and attention, could be conferred on the Jahrejas, 
which would be attended with little expense, but which they would highly 
value ; they are both greedy and necessitous. The present of an inferior 
turban, of a deputta, of a snuff-box, of a pair of spectacles, or any other 
trifling article, would be prized by them as a mark of honour, and as a 
profitable acquisition. These little favours would be the means of bring- 
mg them together, of inducing them to come into our society, and finally 
of reconciling them to our views. It i$ by astociation and constant atten- 
tion that they are to he reclaimed. The character and government of our 
country must suffer materially, should those people be allowed to re- 
sume a pratice which they had abandoned with all the formality of a re- 
gular and solemn compact. May it not be said that we are more indif- 
ferent to the came of humanity than in exacting a rigid and scrupulous 
compliance with the terms of a treaty which involved a paltry revenue, or 
some insignificant district ? We may by kindness and by patience bring 
them back to the path of their duty. The voice of nature, and the in- 
fluence of the women, will unite in assisting us, aftd in this struggle 
against a deplorable practice we shall finally prevail, while our motives 
must be applauded, and cannot be mistaken. Were the power of Go- 
vernment never applied but in cases so obviously beneficial and disin- 
terested the rudest minds would bless them; and the feelings of men, as 
well as their reason, would render them both agreeable and irresistible.'** 
(London, July 1819). 

To the adoption of the plans proposed to suppress Infan- 
ticide, several objections have been made ; these relate to 
expense — marrying the females saved — employing officers 
for detection — and the plans being opposed to the wishes 
of the people. " The Governor in Council," it is said, 
'* does not approve of Captain Camac^s entertaining an es- 
tablishment forthe purpose of suppressing female Infanticide, 
which, even admitting its formation to be essential to effect- 
ing that desirable object, we are not at liberty to sanction 
without the authority of the Honourable Court ; nor does 
it appear advisable to adopt the other proposition, of de- 
fraying the expenses of the marriage of the children of a 
Jahreja."t And in a letter addressed by the Governor to 
the Honourable Court of Directors, Dec. 1817, it is stated, 
" While we feel the strongest inclination to accede to any 
plan which would tend to its suppression, we are not aware 

♦ Par. Papers, pp. 119—121. f p. 98. 

British Humanity, 195 

that any can be adopted beyond the distribution among 
those who shall adhere to tiieir engagements of the amount 
of the fines which may be levied on others, without incurring 
a very heavy charge on the public. To station spies in 
€very town or village would be incurring a large expendi- 
ture^ without, perhaps, securing the object desired ; and the 
measure of authorising an establishment for that purpose is 
particularly objectionable in principle."* 

To marrying those saved the Governor General in 
Council objects by saying, — " Captain Carnac must be in- 
formed that if the Honourable Court should undertake to 
defray the expense of the nuptials of the female children of 
one of the Jahrejas, the rest of the fraternity would expect 
the same consideration, to which they would be equally en- 
titled with the Rajah of Moorvee: the introduction of such 
a practice, independently of the great expense attending it, 
would also be liable to be abused. The Governor in 
Council is desirous, however, to be informed ^at would be 
the probable amount of the expense attending the marriage* 
of a female of this class, in case the Honourable Court 
should view die subject in a different light, and should 
audiorize the incurring it on the present, or on any future 

Of the officers for detection^ the Resident at Baroda, 
Sep. 1816, states : — " In 1812, daring my employment in 
the negociations at Noanugger, Witul Rao, Dewanjee, in 
the hopes of satisfying my inquiries, established several 
mehtas in the prmcipal Jahreja towns, with instructions to 
communicate the birth, preservation, or murder of female 
children, as soon as they received information of such oc- 
currences ; but the jealousy with which these men were re- 
garded rendered their exertions almost abortive ; and, while 
no Jahreja would himself communicate the condition of bis 
wife, they found it in vain to ask for information from his 
neighbours. The duties of these mehtas were of that un- 
questionable nature that gives general dislike, and were 
likely to produce a feeling of opposition that would defeat 
all their inquiries. It was to the establishment of these 
men that Captain Ballantine alluded. They were vrith-* 
drawn when the Paishwa resumed his rights in Gusserat, 
for the reasons stated in Captain Ballantine's letter. That 
gentleman probably supposes that, though such officers 

* Par. Papers, p. 107. f pp. 99, 106, 

o 2 

196 India' M Cries to 

could gain little infonnatioD, their presence operated as 
a check, and made the fear of discover; tend to the aboli- 
tion of female Infanticide; and it seems reasonable to 
think that it should have this effect. No better plan having 
yet been devised, Captain Ballantine has only done his 
duty, in recommending to the adoption of Government 
that which seemed to him the best fitted for the object in 

Objections to this judicious method of detecting the 
crime of Infanticide are urged by the Governor of Bom- 
bay, in Oct. 1827. " From Lieutensint-Colonel Miles's 
despatch, and the renewed agreements concluded with the 
several Jahreja chiefs, subject to the British government, 
your Honourable Court will learn with satisfaction, that 
although this barbarous practice has not, it is to be feared, 
altogeSier ceased, yet its frequency has greatly diminished* 
lieutenant-Colonel Miles's exertions are very praiseworthy, 
and we have expressed our entire satisfaction with his 
humane intentions in checking Infanticide; at the same 
time we have apprized that officer that the measure he pur- 
poses adopting, of keeping carcoons to watch over births, 
was thought objectionable in Kattywar, as leading to an in- 
trusion into domestic privacy very foreign to Indian notions. 
The chiefs of Chorin, with whom agreements have been 
concluded, are differently situated, and the measure may be 
less obnoxious among them ; in which caise, it would be a 
desirable experiment ; but we have recommended that the 
greatest caution should be observed in its adoption, and to 
ascertain its probable effects by previous inquiry." f 

As it respects the adoption of these plans heing^ opposed 
to the wishes of the people, it is remarked by the Governor 
in Council, Dec. 1817, ''Your Honourable Court will per- 
ceive, that since we had the honour of addressing you on 
the subject of female Infanticide, in our letter of the 16th of 
August, 1816, we have been unable to adopt any effectual 
means of extinguishing that inhuman practice ; and we are 
obliged to add, that the propositions submitted to us for our 
consideration, with a view of discovering how far the 
Jahreja chieftains adhered to their engagements, have been 
abandoned, under the persuasion that they would prove 
extremely offensive to their feelings.'*' X 

♦ Par. Papers, pp. 102, 106. f Par- Papers, 1828, pp. 5, 6. 

X Par Papers, p. 100, 

British Humanity. 197 

The Court of Directors express their approbation of this 
policy in a letter to the Governor General in Council in 
Bengal, Nov. 1822 : — "We shall be much gratified to hear 
that the stipulations contained in the 17th and 18th articles* 
relative to the abolition of the practice of Infanticide, have 
been observed. We are not, however, very sanguine in 
our expectations on this head, unless these stipulations are 
enforced by interference on the part of the Resident, which 
would not be reconcileable with our engagement in the 10th 
article, ' to exercise no authority over the domestic concerns 
of the Rao, or those of any of the Jahreja chieftains of the 

The necessity and utility of these plans are ably advo^ 
catedfrom the exceptions made against them, " The very 
alarm (says the Resident at Baroda, Sep. 1816) which the 
promulgation of the plan of rewarding informers would 
excite, might greatly tend to occasion the preservation of 
many female infants. Aware that no feelings of kindness* 
of religion, or of general interest for the caste, could in- 
duce the poor Jahreja to resist the temptation of a reward, 
every man would be afraid of his neighbour and his do** 
mestic ; while there must be many, not of the Jahreja tribe* 
who are informed of the state of their families, and who 
can therefore gratify their avarice with less dread of censure. 
The advantages of this plan, however, are opposed by dis- 
advantages ; and these would grow into an evil of some 
magnitude to the whole body of the Jahrejas unless pro* 
vided against at the first outset. The hopes of reward 
might induce many to bring forward false accusations, and 
also such as might have an appearance of validity, without 
being grounded on fact. The informer should therefore 
be bound to give proof for the specific information which he 
brings, under pain of being severely punished if his infor- 
mation should turn out to be false. The only accounts 
which it seems probable an informer could bring, appear 
to be that he knew of the pregnancy of a certain Rajpoo- 
tanee, and that the event was never published to the com- 
munity. Should the issue have been a female child, and it 
had died, it would require some discrimination on the part 
of the person investigating information to determine whe- 
ther the child might not have been still-bom^ or died shortly 
after its birth. In either of the last mentioned cases the 

* p. 115. Did they not stipulate to abolish Infanticide? 

198 India^M Cries to 

informer should receive no more than a third of the reward. 
But if it should so appear that the Jahreja^s wife, against 
whom the accusation was preferred, had not been pregnant 
or had suffered an early abortion of her offspring, the 
accuser should be ptinished rigorously, or otherwise, ac- 
cording to the circumstances of the case. The evils of 
goindas in respect to the Jahrejas cannot, I presume, be 
felt in any degree to the same extent as they are in BengaL 
The information which they are required to yield admits of 
circumstantial proof, and is not like that concerning rob- 
beries and murders frequently dependent on presumptive 
proof, and it is consequently not likely to be given but 
when there exists, or have existed, some undeniable, and 
in some measure, public grounds for its being true. 

'' I propose this plan with much deference to the wisdom 
of the Right Hon. the Governor in Council, sensible that 
it may appear better in theory than it may prove to be good 
in practice ; but I am at the same time hopeful that it may 
be better than no plan at all^ in rendering the exertions 
of my predecessor a permanent benefit to the country. But 
Government must be aware that my success is entirely de^ 
pendent on subordinate agents, nearly as far removed from 
me, as I myself am from the seat of Government \* and 
that, whatever interest I may take in the subject, my indi- 
vidual exertions can be of no further use than in stimulating 
them to a ssealous attention. I have every reason to be- 
lieve that neither Captain Ballantine nor the Dewanjee 
has been less active than the most humane man could wish, 
but the means in their power were not fitted to enable them 
to command success i 

''The expense of marrying the daughters of the chiefs 
of Kattywar would probably be as follows ; — the marriage 
of the Jam would amount to 30 or 35,006 rupees ; that of 
the daughter of a minor Rajah, such as the Rajah of Moor- 
bee GoonduU and Rajcote, to 15 or 16,000 ; the daughter 
of one of the near relations of the Rajah would require 
from 5 to 7,000 rupees, and that of a poor Jahreja's 
daughter from 1,000 to 1,500 rupees. It would evidently 
be enormously expensive for any Government to defray the 

* " Subsequently to Col. Walker's departure the public serrice ren- 
dered it expedient that the Resident at Baroda should remain at his sta- 
tion; which was 200 miles from the Province where the practice of In- 
fanticide prevailed." — Debate on Suttees, in a general Court of Proprie- 
tors, March 1827. Asi. Jour. May 1827.— Auth. 

British Humanity. 199 

charges of marrying even only one danghter in each family, 
and it might be impolitic to marry that of one person, and 
not of another. The Moorhee Rajah, however, might be 
made an exception, since it vras he who first saved his 
daughter ; and since it was by his means that Colonel Wal- 
ker laid the foundation of the superstructure he afterwards 
raised. I conceive the Guicawar Government would wil- 
lingly share with the British Government the expense and 
the honour of presenting a dowry to the first female child 
saved from the barbarity of an unfeeling parent/'* 

Captain Ballantine observes upon the same subject, — 
*^ I venture to repeat, the means I recommended were both 
desirable and eligible in many points of view, and, in my 
humble apprehension, calculated to have obtained us actual 
instances of individual criminality, and no doubt to have 
followed up with greater effect the prohibitory nature of the 
solemn compacts the Jahrejas entered into with us, to dis- 
continue the systematic murder of their female offsprings. 
In regretting the cause of the apprehension submitted in 
the preceding paragraph, it is only necessary to recal to 
the recollection of Government, that we have hitherto, and 
have still, to depend on the native governments and autho- 
rities for the only information to be obtained, or essential 
attention to the enforcement of the stipulations of our en^ 

" From the voluminous papers before me, the British 
Government seems to desire the abolition of this singular 
custom with equal interest and solicitude ; and that proba- 
bly, through its wisdom and recommendation, the Honour'- 
ixble Court will eventually sanction the adoption of mea- 
sures better calculated to root out the evil. For might 
not the expense and responsibility, and our active super-* 
vision, with deference I submit, be with strict policy and 
justice made chargeable to the Government who alone de- 
rive any pecuniary or real advantage from the country, and 
of course should be equally interested in the first dictates of 
humanity, and in the annihilation of customs offensive to all 
religions, and degrading to human nature in general If 

" I beg respectfully to remark," says J. R. Carnac, Esq., 
Resident at Baroda, Oct. 1817, to the chief secretary of 
the Bombay government, *' that in no suggestions for the 
maintenance of an establishment for the discovery of those 

♦ Par. Papers, pp. I03j 104. f PP- 1^8> "^09. 

200 India s Cries to 

Jahrejas who have immolated their female offspring, am I 
sensible of having recommended additional emoluments to 
my assistant, or in the most distant shape to combine the 
important objects of humanity with any personal advantages 
whatever. My desire has always been the adoption of same 
effectual plan, hitherto entirely unheeded, to ^ve effect to 
the humane exertions of my predecessor, in the conviction 
of tfte utter impossibility of preventing female Infanticide^ 
where the means are confined to the personal influence 
merely of my assistant in Kattywar, 

'* The disappointment which has been eaperien^cedcan be 
tranced excluMxely to the want of a system, iy which a 
detection of tJie guilty could be en>suredy and not to any in- 
difference on the part of the local officers to the enforce-, 
ment of the engagements contracted by the Jahrejas, I 
have had the honour on several occasions of bringing the 
subject in the most urgent manner to the attention of 
Government, and in submitting recommendations on the 
ways and means for an effectual abolition of Infanticide, 
have implored Government to devise any plan which in its 
wisdom might be efficacious. While my suggestions have 
been deemed objectionable, no other plan ha>s interme- 
diately been prescribed, and doubtless the want of it is 
frequently affording the most melancholy evidence of an 
evasion of the excellent engagements contracted by the in- ■ 
ftuence of Lieutenant Colonel Walker.^'** 

The Governor of Bombay addressed the Honourable 
Court of Directors, Nov. 1827, in the following manner, 
which indicates a pleasing attention to the subject of In- 
fanticide: — "The Chief of Rajcote applied to us for our 
guarantee to a mortgage of four villages, to enable him to 
raise a sum of money to defray the expenses of his mar- 
riage. The late Chief of Rajcote was one of the first who 
attended to Lieutenant Colonel Walker, in his settlement 
of Kattywar, and acceded to the advice and wishes of that 
officer, in his humane endeavour to abolish Infanticide, and 
the marriagje of his daughter (himself a Jahreja) had in- 
volved the family, which had led to the mortgage of the 
farm of his talooka. It appeared to us, however, that 
instead of sanctioning this mortgage, which we were never- 
theless disposed to do, under the peculiar circumstances of 
this chieftain's case, it would be more expedient to mark 

* Par. Papers, p. 112, 113. 

British Humanity. 901 

tbe high sense which we entertained of the conduct of this 
family^ in renouncing Infanticide, to make tbe Takore a 
donation from the fund established for this purpose. A 
donation of the sum of rupees, 12,000, was accordingly 
made to him, to enable him to bear the expense of the 
marriage."* The beneficial effects of such measures are 
self-evident, and yet alone they appear inadequate to the 
suppression of this unnatural crime. 

The facilities which Britain possesses for abolishing 
this horrid rite are very considerable. The whole civilized 
world naturally looks to her to do her duty in India, and 
suppress every sanguinary practice subversive of the prin- 
ciples of natural and revealed Religion. 

** The influence," says the Honourable Governor of 
Bombay, Dec. 1817, ** which the cession of the Paishwa's 
tribute from Kattywar will afford to the British Govern* 
ment over that part of Guzerat, will, we trust, enable us 
to secure a more rigid adherence to the engagements of 
the Jabrejas ; and the Resident at Baroda has been 
directed to depute Captain Ballantine to inform them of 
our determination to enforce the penalties whenever a 
breach of their engagements can be established; and to 
withhold our countenance from those who shall continue to 
follow this inhuman custom."t In a letter to the Court of 
Directors, Aug. 1820, it is said, " Your Honourable Court 
will learn with satisfaction, that, by the 17th Article of the 
treaty with Cutch, the practice of female Infanticide has 
beer^ formally renounced in that Province.^'f 

The Guicowar Government, in Aug. 1825, expressed 
its approbation of Colonel Walker's suggestion, that ** The 
sums levied and fines from disturbers of the peace and 
other offenders should, through the clemency of Govern- 
ment, be distributed in such sums as were suitable to the 
station in life of the parties concerned ; to defray the mar- 
riage expenses of females who should be preserved." To 
which it was replied by the Cutch Government, " The case 
under consideration is one of charity and will procure the 
blessings of Heaven on both Governments; therefore, 
whatever sums have been realized as fines on offenders 
since Captain Barnewell was placed in charge of the Dis- 
tricts, or any extra revenue beyond the tribute, as fixed for 
perpetuity by Colonel Walker, may be appropriated as 

* Par. Papers, 1828, p. 6. f Par. Papers, p. 107. J p. 114. 

903 India s Cries to 

above specified : the disposal being- year by year duly com'* 
municated to us, and the arrangement is highly satisfactory 
to this Government/' In Jan. 1826 the Resident in Cutch 
reported 143 female children being alive, and observes, *' I 
have made an arrangement, in concert with the other mem- 
bers of the regency, for the birth of every child (male or 
female) that occurs in a Jahreja family being reported to 
the Durbar; and as all deaths are to be notified at the 
time, and in the same manner, I hope these precautions will 
effectually put a stop to any instances of Infanticide that 
may still be occasionally practised." The adoption of a 
similar check in Kattywar, if practicable, was considered 
by the Governor extremely desirable.* 

The measures which should be adopted for the speedy 
and entire abolition of Infanticide are ably stated by the 
philanthropic Colonel Walker in a letter to the Honourable 
Court of Directors, dated London, Aug. 1819. The foU 
lowing extracts appear very interesting: — 

'< I shall turn with pleasure fo the circumstances which are favourable 
to this cause of humanity, and which may encourage us to expect that 
this revolting practice will be overcome. The Court of Directors, the 
Government and its Assistants in India, appear at present to take great 
interest in the success of the measure. This is one favourable class of 
circumstances. Again, the prejudices of the Jahrejas with which I had 
to grapple, if not entirely done away, are at least suppressed and dis- 
avowed. They appear so far to move within the range in which nature 
acts, that they express no pride in the destruction of their offspring, and 
feel no shame in rearing them. It is evident that a very favourable 
change has taken place, since all the infants they have saved have been 
the consequence of their own choice ; and, as some of their daughters 
have been reared within very recent dates, the principle of natural affec- 
tion is even at this moment producing its effect. 

*' One of the j)rincipal objections to the remedial measures proposed to 
and rejected by the Bombay Government, without the substitution of 
others, is, that they uniformly consist of small details. They suggest to 
me the idea of a conqueror proposing to lay a vast region at his feet by 
merely disarming or taking captive a few of the videttes or outposts* It 
appears to me that there are two great principles, of which all the minor 
details must be merely ramifications. The first principle is the maintenance 
of the authority of Government in connection with the solemn engagements 
of the Jahrejas ; and the second is the adoption of that conduct towards 
the natives which I have endeavoured to illustrate. 

The authority of Government must he maintained^ and the engagement, 
which has been mutually contracted, exactly fulfilled. We must show 
that we are serious, and that we are determined to be obeyed-. This will be 
more difficult now than in 1808, but still it must be done. I would begin 
by sending to every Jahreja chief an authenticated copy of his engage- 

* Par. Papers, 1828, p. 23—25. , 

British Humanity. ^09 

meot, and apprize him in the most solemn and precise terms of the de- 
termination of the Company and the Guicowar to exact the performance 
of an obligation which has prescribed to all parties sacred and imperative 
duties. These separate addresses to the chiefs would soothe their pride, 
and prevent them from taking offence ; but, that none may be able to 
plead ignorance of the intentions of Government, I would follow up the 
measure by a public proclamation, and give it as wide a circulation as 
possible. This should be addressed to the bosom and understanding of 
every Jahreja. It should declare the feelings and the intention of Go^ 
vernment upon the subject. It should strongly mark the abhorrence of 
the crime, and explain the nature of his own obligations in consequence 
of his engagement to renounce Infanticide. That where the monstrous 
inhumanity of Infanticide exists it is impossible that any good can exist i, 
that it involves a violation of good faith, as well as the recognized pnn- ^ 
ciples of Religion, and that no trust can be reposed in the perpetrators^ 
of this horrid crime : that, therefore Government are resolved to punish 
such outcasts of human nature by withholding from them every mark of 
confidence and regard, as well as by inflicting pains and penalties ac- 
cording to the nature of the case. That on the other hand those who 
give evidence of a sincere and hearty return to nature and the principles 
of Religion, shall be regarded with affection, and enjoy every mark of 
esteem, of favour, honour, and emolument, of which circumstances will 

'* The servants of Government, Native or British, should have instruc- 
tions to watch over the operation of the engagements in their several dis- 
tricts, and to report upon every occurrence oj a birth among the Jahrefas, 
or even the surmises of its consequences. As they are not very rigid in 
the seclusion of their women, and as all those who are in the lower sta- 
tions of life, who form the great majority in every society, must neces- 
sarily be employed in occupations which expose them to public view, a 
case of pregnancy can scarcely ever be concealed. There is no attempt 
made indeed to prevent it being known, and surely it would not require 
much discrimination of judgment, nor the exercise of a very officious 
impertinent curiosity, to ascertain a circumstance which is so notorious. 
But there are other circumstances of less direct evidence, from which very 
fair and correct inferences may be drawn, and of which we may avail our- 
selves, in cases where stronger testimony may fail. It is well known that 
among Hindoos of all descriptions the birth of a son is an object of con- 
gratulation and rejoicing. Whenever a birth in a Jahreja family was 
unattended by these cheerful and happy symptoms, where it was passed 
over in silence and without notice, we might, with very considerable cer- 
tainty, conclude that the birth was a female ! ! Cases of a suspicious 
nature must occasionally occur, and come under our observation ; but 
the miserable children of poverty must not become th6^ victims of ven- 
geance, while the more aggravated guilt of those who range in the higher 
ranks of life are passed over in silence and with impunity. 

" Every servant of Government should have injunctions to ascertain 
the consequence of a birth by all the means that may be in his power ; 
nothing should be too trifling for his notice which may bear on the point; 
he should collect even the rumours of the country upon the subject, and 
report to his superior; he again to another, if such there happen to be, 
and so on till each case reach the assistant of the Resident, and then the 
Resident himself, who should lastly report to the Government at Bombay. 
I would beg to recommend that the report of the Resident should be 

204 India s Cries to 

made at least every three months for the first year or two^ or till it appear 
that the measure is proceeding so securely that an annual report, wnich 
must never be dispensed with, shall be deemed sufficient. Quarterly 
Reports for a time, indeed, would be highly beneficial, and, if they were 
mere blanks, still I think they should be punctually made. They would 
prevent the subject from falling into neglect, and by maintaining a spirit 
of inquiry make it manifestly appear that we are in earnest. I would 
even suggest, if it could be attained, to engage the chiefs themselves to 
make returns of hirtha, and not only of females but of males, which would 
he a check upon the evidence in regard to the former. This would be 
gaining a step of decisive importance, not only to the cause, but might in- 
crease the small number of useful facts which we possess on the state of 
population in India. 

'* It is evidently necessary that the whole system should be supported by 
rewards and punishments ; but a considerable diversity of opinion may 
prevail as to their nature and mode of application. The crime may be 
rendered more frequent by the severity of the laws which are enacted to 
prevent it ; while there may be as much danger of encouraging it by too 
great tenderness in punishing. The ofiFence is of such an odious de- 
scription that it cannot be considered as a fit object for the exercise of 
clemency. At the same time it has been so long legalized by custom, 
and so common in its practice, that it may not be proper to inflict the 
last severity of the law on the first transgressors. Aflerwards, however, 
and when the ordinance has been for some time generally observed, the 
criminal may be prosecuted as a common murderer. Cases of delinquency 
should, in every event, be punished by fine, and branded with infamy. 
The chiefs should be particularly held to their engagement, and punished 
with a pecuniary penalty to the extent of their means, and the degree of 
their offence. The poverty of many Jahrejas, however, must render the 
mode of amiercement with respect to them impracticable, and the 
punishment of those who violate the engagement under such circum- 
stances must be limited to disgrace, or ejection from caste. 

" To this may be superadded, the displeasure of Government, the re- 
proach and correction of society. I have said that I would not have re- 
course to coercive means, and if possible I would still adhere to this 
rule ; but the authority of Government must at all events be main- 
tained, and this gross departure from duty punished. If all other 
means therefore should fail, I would not hesitate to apply those of coer- 
cion, taking care to show that it is a matter of necessity, and not choice. 
Rewards and punishments always suppose something done to merit the 
one or incur the other; hut it is generally a less difficult task to repay a 
good deed, than to discover the best means of punishing a crime so as to 
prevent its repetition. Various marks of regard might be sfiown, at little 
expense, to the observers of the ' engagement. They should have less the 
appearance of bribes than marks of honour ; but at the same time in- 
stances may occur in which it may be necessary to display the gene- 
rosity and liberality of Government. This must be particularly necessary 
in cases of extreme poverty, and inability to rear the offspring which has 
been saved. Such cases of extreme poverty and distress have actually 
occurred. Several instances are stated by Captain Ballantine to have 
happened, and an affecting appeal appears to have been made by the 
parties for pecuniary relief, which will not escape the humane attentiort 
of the Honourable Court of Directors. I would suggest the adoptior* 
of a Regulation, which, while it might serve as some check on the per- 

British Humanity. 205 

petrators of Infanticide, vrould be an encoun^ement to those who 
follow a different conduct. The latter should receive as much praise and 
publicity as possible. In this point of view it might be found useful to 
publish in the Cutcherries and places of public resort, after a Report has 
been transmitted to Government, the names of those who have been faithful 
to nature and their engagement^ and of those who have been proved to vio- 
late the dictates of both. While one class would thus be marked as un- 
worthy of trust or confidence, the other would be placed within the 
view of distinction and preferment. Might it not be a beneficial excite- 
ment to confer an honorary medal on the Jahrejas who save their davghters? 
The silver of a few rupees might answer the purpose ; the medals would 
contain a suitable inscription, and the persons receiving them should be 
invested with them by the highest local authority of the District, and in 
as public a manner as possible. 

*' From the increased share and influence which we now possess in 
the revenue and Government of Kattywar we have proportionally in- 
creased means of binding the principles and directing the sentiments of 
the natives. Among the circumstances of which we have the command, 
is the power of employing in the transaction of public business only 
meritonous natives, and of selecting, especially for places of honour and 
trust, those Jahrejas who may have saved their children. The Company, 
in a great measure, possess all those means of preferment and profitable 
appointment which formerly belonged solely to the native rulers. The 
fines recovered from delinquents should constitute a fund sacred to the 
benefit of tliose who have saved their daughters, which should be distributed 
. by the Resident according to the merits and wants of particular cases. The 
management and distribution of the fiind in this manner would be one 
means of satisfying the country that the humanity of the Company's 
Government was quite disinterested. The accomplishment of this 
desirable object, ought to be considered as a prudent and legitimate 
measure for the consolidation and stability of our Government or in- 
fluence in that quarter of India.'^ 

From an attentive review of the various facts and obser- 
vations contained in the two volumes of Parliamentary 
Documents on Infanticide, it is evident that the unnatural 
custom of Infanticide still prevails to a lamentable degree 
in India, tn the first of these volumes the detail of its 
revival, after the efibrts of Colonel Walker to suppress it, 
is peculiarly painful to every humane mind. The other 
volume presents a more pleasing scene, but shows that there 
is yet much to be done, before this custom will be anni- 
hilated — a few extracts will demonstrate this. The Governor 
in Council of Bombay writes to the Court of Directors, 
Nov. 1825:—" Mr. Gardiner, late Resident in Culch, 
annexes to his Report a list of ninety-one female infants 
belonging to the Jahreja tribe, and now living in Cutch and 
Waugur. He appears to have satisfied himself of their 

» Par. Papers, p. 123—127. 

S06 India's Cries to 

existence, and in any case, when it was practicable, had thd 
' infants brought to him. None of them appear to have ex- 
ceeded the age of seven years^ which marks the time when 
the abolition of this horrid practice first had operation 
under our influence. He adds his belief that among the 
chiefs the feeling is pretty general, that it has become their 
duty, as well as their interest, to preserve their female 
children ; for, the penalty being undefined, any infringement 
of the agreement might be visited in the severest manner 
by a pecuniary mulct. On the other hand, the inferior 
byaud having nothing to lose, are not under the same ap- 
prehension, and no doubt the practice is still continited to 
a lamentable extent among them,'' * "A constant inter- 
course with the Jahrejas," says R. Barnewell, Esq., Poli- 
tical Agent in Kattywar, July 1824, " during my annual 
circuit, has given me opportunities of impressing on their 
minds the interest taken by the British Government in the 
suppression of the barbarous and unnatural practice, and 
the guilt attached to the commission of it by the dictates of 
their own religion. T receive continued assurances that 
they will discountenance it; hut, Jrom the disproportionate 
number of females still existing^ it is evident tlmty although 
this horrible practice may be somewhat subdued^ it is still 
far from being relinquished?'* f 

^' I was much surprised, (says the late Bishop Heber, 
speaking of Banswarra, in Guzerat,) to find, in such a 
situation, so large and handsome a place, of which I knew 
nothing before, except as one of those States which have 
been noticed in India for the wildness and poverty of their 
inhabitants^ and for their abominable custom of murdering 
the greater part of their female infants. This cruel and 
most unnatural sacrifice, it has long been the endeavour of 
the British Government to induce its vassals and allies to 
abandon. Major Walker, when Resident at Baroda, 
thought he had succeeded with the greater part of them ; 
but it is believed by most Offices on this side of the 
country, that the member saved was very small in propor- 
tion to that of the victims. Unhappily, pride, poverty, and 
ava(ice» are in league with superstition to perpetuate these 
horrors. It is a disgrace for a noble family to have a 
daughter unmarried, and still more to marry her to a person 

Par. Papers, 1828, p. 3. f p. 10. 

British Humanity. 90f 

of inferior birth, while they bavie neither the means nor the 
inclination, to pay such portions as a person of their own 
rank would expect to receive with them. On the other 
hand, the sacrifice of a child is believed, surely with truth, 
to be acceptable ' to the evil powers ;' and the fact is cer- 
tain that, though the high-born Rajpoots have many sons, 
very few daughters are ever found in their palaces ; though 
it is not easy to prove any particular instance of murder, 
or to know the way in which the victims are disposed of. 
The common story of the country, and probably the true one, 
(for it is a point on which, except with the English, no mys- 
tery is likely to be observed), is, that a large vessel of milk 
is set in the chamber of the lying-in woman, and the infant, 
if a girl, is immediately plunged into it. Sir John Malcolm 
(who supposes the practice to be on llie decline) was told 
that a pill of opium was usually given. Through the influ- 
ence of Major Walker, it is certain that many children 
were spared ; but, since that time, things have gone on very 
much in the old train, and the answers made by the chiefs 
to any remonstrances of the British officers is, ' Pay our 
daughters' marriage money and they shall live/' Yet 
these very men, rather than strike a cow, would submit to 
the most cruel martyrdom. Never may my dear wife and 
daughters forget how much their sex. is indebted to Chris- 

Its prevalence in certain parts of the Bengal Presidency 
has been stated by the Functionaries of Government. The 
Magistrate of Etawah, says, — '* Murders have occurred re- 
specting the division of land ; we have no instance of real 
and deliberate homicide ; but I fear that there is much 
reason to believe that child murder is frequently perpe^ 
trated^^'f "There are (says Bishop Heber) among the 
Hindoos frequent instances of murder, but of a most 
cowardly and premeditated kind. They are chiefly cases 
of women murdered from jealousy, and children for the 
sake of the silver ornaments with which their parents 
are fond of decorating them. Out of thirty-six cases of 
murder, reported in the Province of Bengal, during the 
short space of,?I believe, three months, seventeen weje of 
children under these circumstances.*' "The number of 
children who are decoyed aside and murdered for the sake 

* Heber'f Jour, vol.ii. p. 88. f Par- Papers on Infen. 1828, p. 36. 

308 Indians Cries io 

of their ornaments, Lord Amherst assures me, is dread- 

''The horrible practice of female Infanticide still pre- 
vails in some Districts in the Island of Ceylon. In the last 
general census, taken in 1821, the number of males ex- 
ceeded that of females by 20,000 ! ! In one District there 
were, to every hundred men, but fifty-five women, and in 
those parts where the numbers are equal, the population was 
almost exclusively Mussulman. The strange custom of one 
woman having two, or even more, husbands ; and the con- 
sequent difficulty of marrying their daughters, in a country 
in which, to live single, is disgraceful; seem to be the 
causes of this unnatural custom. An astrologer is con- 
sulted on the birth of a female child, and, if he pronounce 
her to have been bom under evil auspices, she is exposed 
alive in the woods, to be destroyed by beasts of prey or by 
ants ; generally, I was happy to hear, without the consent 
of the mother."§ 

The adoption of a general law for India appears ne- 

J. !roynder, Esq., in his speech at a General Court of 
Proprietors, March, 1827, in which a resolution was carried 
that " In the ca>se of all rhtes involving the destruction, of 
life^ it is the duty of a paternal Government to inteffere 
for their prevention^'' very forcibly observed ; *' It was on 
record, that, notwithstanding all that had been done by Col. 
Walker's meritorious exertions, the practice of Infanticide 
had again revived, in consequence of the apathy and in- 
difference of that gentleman's successors. He might be 
told that practices of this description must of necessity go 
on. This however he must strenuously deny : if positive 
laws were enacted and put in force on this, as they had been 
on other subjects of less moral importance, such practices 
might and would be prevented. Let not Gentlemen con- 
tent themselves with the exertions of individuals : it was 
not by the efforts of such excellent men as Col. Walker, 
succeeded as they might be by individuals who would not 
perform their duty, that the destruction of such practices 
could be accomplished. It was only by a general law for 
India that a general reform could he expected. Let them 
not lay ' the flattering unction to their souls' that partial 
efforts could remove the evil. Such efforts — 

J Heber's Jour. vol. i. p. 82, vol. ii. p. 306. § vol. ii. p. 252. 

British Humanity. 209 

<^ Will but skin and film the ulcerous part, 
While rank corruption, mining all within. 
Infects unseen Z** 

The conduct of the natives of the Society and Sandwich 
Islands is worthy of imitation. ** In order to mark their 
sense of the enormity of Infanticide/' says Mr. Ellis, "the 
very ^rst article in the code of Laws proposed by the 
chiefs, and adopted by the people in most of the Society 
Islands, shortly after their reception of Christianity, is a pro- 
hibition of Infanticide, annexing the punishment of death 
to its perpetration under any circumstances whatever. 
In the Sandwich Islands, although not abolished, we have 
reason to believe it prevails less extensively than it did four 
or five years ago. The king, and some of the chiefs, since 
they have attended to the precepts of Christianity, have 
readily expressed in public their conviction of its criminality, 
and that committing it is in {actpepehi kanaka (to kill man) 
under circumstances which aggravate its guilt. Kairamokee, 
Regent of the Islands, has more than once forbidden any 
parents to destroy their children, and has threatened to 
punish with banishment, if not with death, any who shall 
be found guilty of it.^'f 

The objections urged to the appointment of informers 
appear to arise from a false delicacy, and a destitution of 
that abhorrence of murder which in Britain we are taught 
to consider natural. Is blood to be secreted because in«- 
trusion into the haunts of murderers is unwelcome? R. 
Same well, Esq., in Kattywar, urging the Bombay Govern- 
ment to adopt more effectual means for the abolition of 
this practice, very justly observes : — " The only means to 
ensure further success is to persevere in discountenancing, 
as much as possible, this atrocity ; but, so long as the force 
of pride and interest has a dominion sufficiently powerful 
to subdue in the Jahreja every principle of humanity and 
religion, this unnatural practice but slowly abolished. 

" The effect of rewards for convicting the offender, and 
establishing the guilt of the parties, might be attended with 
some benefit ; they might be offered to stimulate the acti- 
vity of informers ; to enforce the penalties prescribed by 
the engagement, and remove obstacles which now inter- 
fere to prevent the crimes being discovered. The ♦fines 
levied for the commission of the offence might be expended 

♦ Asiatic Journal, May, 1827, p. 699. f Ellis's Tour, p. 303. 


210 India' $ Cru$ ia 

partly or wholly in rewards to those actively engaged in 
enabling the British Government to give greater effect to 
the suppression of the crime ; this appears the only temp- 
tation likely to indace an informer to come forward, that it 
would be politic or desirable to authorize, or that seems 
calculated to afford any increased facility in establishing the 
guilt of those perpetrating it."* " I should beg," says 
Lieut. Col. Miles, Political Agent, Pahlnnpore, "to re- 
commend that the cakoons (writers) in the Jahreja Talooks 
be instructed to keep a register of the births of female 
children, and use all vigilance in detecting any future vio- 
lation of those solemn engagements/'f The propriety of 
encouraging the detection of the crime of Infanticide ap- 
pears evident. 

It is the duty of the Honourable East India Company's 
Govemmentj cmd^ on their neglect of it, that of the 
British Nation^ to promote the speedy and entire abolition 
of thisy and every inhuman custom in India. The Go- 
vernment in India has been more attentive to the abolition 
of Infanticide than formerlyi Some few fines have been 
levied, and donations given to defray the expense of the 
marriage of Jahreja females. Until Infanticide be punished 
severely it may be feared that it will not be annihilated. 
" Blood has a voice to reach the skies/' It still cries to 
Britain for justice, and her apathy causes it to cry against 
her. British india is an ** Aceldema, a field of blood.'' 
Infanticides — Suttees — the Exposure of the Sick — Pil- 
grimages (encouraged by British connection with Idolatry), 
in which thousands perish — the burying alive and drowning 
of devotees — prostrations under the wheels of Juggernaut's 
car, or that of his brother and sister — precipitation from 
eminences — actual human sacrifices, &c., defile the land. 
Why is not '* inquisition made for blood?*' Political ex- 
pediency cannot justify palliation of crime and murder. 
No such expediency really exists. Let the inhabitants of 
the United Kingdom ** relieve the oppressed, judge the 
fatherless, plead for the widow." Let petitions from every 
part of the land demonstrate the deep interest felt in the 
abolition of Infanticide, of Suttees, and every murderous 
practice in British India. 

Societies and Corresponding Committees should be 
formed for the Abolition of Human Sacrifices in India. 

* Par. Papers, 1828, p. 10. i p. 29. 

British Humanity. 211 

They would diffuse iuformation on the nature and extent 
of these sacrifices, and the propriety and facility of their 
abolition — originate Petitions — and press the subject con- 
stantly upon the attention of the British Government in this 
country and in India. Such have been formed in London, 
Birmingham, and Coventry. How long shall the exclama- 
tion of the Poet continue to be so just — 

• Hear it not ye stars, 

And thou pale moon, turn paler at the sound I 

Man is to man the sorest, surest ill. 

Heaven's sovereign saves all beings bat himself V 

Why do not the British, the modem Romans, in arts, 
arms, enterprise, and extent of colonization, imitate the an- 
cient Bomans, who, says Montesquieu, '* deserved well of 
human nature, for making it an article in their treaty with 
the Carthaginians that they should abstain from sacrificing 
their children to their gods?" Is Britain, once characterized 
** Britannos hospitibus feros,'" by the benign power of 
Christianity recognised as the liberator of the slave, the 
patron of civil and religious liberty — the friend of the hu- 
man race — Heaven's messenger of Gospel mercies to mil- 
lions over whom she rules? Let the best influence of the 
British character be manifest wherever it is seen, and the 
sentiment of the Poet be regarded : — 

• Spread it then ; 

And let it circulate through every vein 

Of all your Empire ; that, where Britain*s power 

Is felt J mankind may feel her mercy tooP^ 





Origin^ nature^ proceedSy and appropriation of the Pil- 
grim Ta^, — Traces of British connexion tcith Idolatry 
and Mahomedanism in various parts of India. 

Thb connexion of Britain with idolatry in India chiefly 
consists in the establishment of the Pilgrim Tax at the 
Temple of Juggernaut in Orissa, at Gya, and Allahabad ; 
in the reception of the^gains of Idolatry from certain tem- 
ples, and in making annual grants of money for the support 
of this absurd and cruel system. The nature, extent, and 
injurious tendency of these proceedings are developed in 
this book, and the misery of the deluded pilgrims allured 
to the shrines of superstition (rendered more celebrated by 
these regulations and emoluments !) cry loudly to Britain, 
relative to the support of heathen temples, '* Let them 

'* The origin of the Pilgrim Tax at the Temple lugger- 
naut is thus stated in an interesting *' Account of Orissa" 
by A. Stirling, Esq.: — " The Moguls (who gained possession 
of Orissa about the close of the sixteenth century) seem to 
have been actuated by peculiar rancour towards Jugger- 
naut, and lost no opportunity of disturbing the Hindoos in 
the performance of their devotion at his temple. During 
these contests in and about Pooree the images,* so much 

/ Juggernaut, Bulbudra, and Subudra, his brother and sister. 

214 IndujUi Cries to 

venerated by the one party and abhorred by the otbefr 
were twice or thrice carried away across the Chilka Lake^ 
and concealed among the hills until the times appeared 
favourable for again setting them on their thrones in the 
temple. This religious warfare was at last set at rest by 
the institution of the tax on pilgrims ; which, if we may 
credk the author of the work translated by Gladwin, under 
the title of * History of Bengal,' yielded the Mogul Go- 
▼ernment a revenue of 900,000 rupees. Under such cir- 
cumstances religious antipathies, however strong on the 
part of the ruling powers, yielded gradually to the consi- 
deration of self interest."* The Mahrattas, who succeeded 
the Mussulmans in the Government of Orissa, levied the tax, 
and the British have followed the example of their prede- 

'' Before this place (Juggernaut) fell into the hands of the 
English, the King, a Mahratta Chief, exacted tolls from 
the pilgrims passing through his territories to Juggernaut. 
At one place the toll was not less than £l.9s. for each foot 
passenger, if he had so much property with him. When a 
Bengalee Rajah used to go, he was accompanied by one or 
two thousand people, for every one of whom he was obliged 
to pay toll. The Hon. Company's Government levies 
a tax of from one to six rupees on each passenger.^f 
Whether the origin of the Pilgrim Tax at Gya and AUa^ 
habad was the same as at Juggernaut is not certain ; but it 
is probable that the rapacious followers of the prophet of 
Mecca established it in various parts of India. 

The nature of the system will appear from the Govern- 
ment Regulations relative to the Pilgrim Tax, extracted 
from ** Harington's Analysis of the Laws and Regulations 
of the Bengal Presidency," vol. iii. & vi. ; and the Par- 
liamentary Papers relative to Juggernaut, printed May 1813. 
The following compendious view of the system appears de- 
serving of attention. 


" This is a celebrated place of Hindoo worship on the 
sea coast of Orissa, district of Cuttack, Lat. 19. 49. N. 

♦ See Asi. Researches, vol. 15, 1825. p. 163—338. f Ward's View 
of the His* Lit. and Myth, of the Hindoos, vol. 2, p. 134. 

British Humanity. 215 

and LoD. 85. 54. £., 300 miles from Calcutta. The popu- 
lation is estimated at 30,000. Possession was taken of the 
town and temple by the British, Sep. 18, 1803; the sacred 
Urill of the Idol having been first cucertained through the 
medium of the officiating priest ! At Ju^ernaut there are 
thirteen annual festivals : — Chandao (sweet-scented powder), 
Snan (bathing festival), Ruth (car ditto), Bahnra (retumiug 
ditto), Shayan (lying down ditto), Janma (birth ditto), Koju> 
gara (waking ditto), Rasa festival, Tirana (warm clothing 
ditto), Abhishaca (anointing ditto), Macura (sign of the 
zodiac ditto). Dole (swinging ditto). Ram Narami (Ram's 
birth-day ditto). Much the greater number of pilgrims are 
present at the ^winging and Gar Festivals. The concourse 
of pilgrims to this temple is so immense that at 50 miles 
distance its approach may be known by the quantity of hu- 
man bones which are strewed by the way.'** 

** Juggernaut is one of the most celebrated places in 
India. All the land within 20 miles is considered holy ; 
but the most sacred spot is enclosed within a stone wall, 
21 feet high, and forms nearly a square : two sides mea- 
suring each 656 feet, and the other two 626 feet in length. 
Within this area are about fifty temples^ dedicated to va- 
rious idols ; but the most conspicuous buildings consists of 
one lofty stone tower, 184 feet high, and 28 feet 8 inches 
square inside, and is called the Bur Dewal, and two adjoin- 
ing stone buildings with pyramidical roofs. The idol Jug- 
gernaut, his brother Bulbudra, and his sister Subudra, 
occupy the tower. The first pyramidical building, which is 
40 feet square inside, is connected with the tower, and is 
the place where the idol is worshipped during the bathing 
Festival. Adjoining this temple is a low bailing on pillars 
(with a fabulous animal in the centre) which is intended 
as an awning to shelter the entrance from the rays of the 
sun ; and after this is a second building, with a pyramidical 
stone roof, where the food prepared for the pilgrims, or 
others, is daily brought, previous to distribution. This 
latter building is said to have been removed from Kanaruck, 
or the black Pagoda, and is called the Beg Mundeep. The 
temple of Juggernaut was erected by Rajah Anung Bheem 
Deo, and completed in A. D. 1198. The roofs are orna- 
mented in a singular style, with representations of monsters, 
which can only be understood by a drawing : but the walls 

* Hamilton's Descriptioil of Hindostan. Vol. ii^ p. 51 — 53. 

216 India's Cries to 

of the temples, which are not visible beyond the euclosure^ 
are covered with statues of stone. Several represent a 
famous Hindoo god, Mahadeo, with his wife Parbattee, in 
attidues so grossly indecent that it seems sarprising how 
any superstition could debase its votaries to such a degree 
as to make them introduce into their most sacred places 
such filthy and obscene representations! Each side of the 
boundary wall has a lai^e gateway in the centre ; but the 
grand entrance is in the eastern face. 

'' The idol Juggernaut is probably the coarsest image in 
the country. The figure does not extend below the loins, 
and it has no hands, but two stumps in lien of arms, on 
which the priests occasionally fasten hands of gold, A 
Christian is almost led to think that it was an attempt to see 
how low idolatry could debase the human mind. The priests 
endeavour to account for the deformity by a strange legen* 
dary tale. Some thousands of years ago, in the Sutya 
Yuga, Maharajah Indradyumna, of Oojein, in Malwa^ 
applied to the celebrated manufacturer of gods to make a 
new i(}ol. This request was granted, on condition that the 
Maharajah should be very patient, and not interrupt the 
work, as it could never be completed if any attempt were 
made to see the process. This caution^ was not duly 
attended to. The prince endeavoured to see what progress 
had been made, and it became necessary that he should be 
satisfied with the imperfect image. When two new moons 
occur in Assaur (part of June and July), which is said to 
happen about once in seventeen years, a new idol is always 
made. A neem tree (melia azodaracta) is sought for in 
die forests, on which no crow or carrion bird was ever 
perched: it is known to the initiated by certain signs! 
This is prepared into a proper form by common carpenters, 
and is then' entrusted to certain priests, who are protected 
from all intrusion : the process is a great mystery. One 
man is selected to take out of the old idol si small box, 
containing the spirit, which is conveyed inside the new : 
the man who does this is always removed from this world 
before the end of the year /"* 

The first Regulations relative to Juggernaut's temple 
were adopted by the British Government Jan. 1806 ; these 
were afterwards rescinded, and others framed in 1809 and 
1810. The following is a summary of the Regulations : — 

Col. Phipps' Account of Juggernaut. — Asi. Jour. March 1824. 

British Humanity. 219 

The superintendence of the temple and its interior economy are 
vested in the Rajah of Khoorda. The Governor General in Council 
possesses the power of removing the Rajah or any of his successors 
from the superintendence, on proof of nusconduct. The superintendent 
of the temple is authorized to punish instances of neglect or misconduct 
by imposing small fines, or by removing the offender (if not one 
of the three head Purchas) from his office : the amount of fines is to be 
carried to the account of Government. The three dewul Purchas are 
to be appointefd by the Collector of Cuttack, subject to the confirmation > 
of Government. In the event of orders being issued by tlie Rajah 
contrary to the recorded rules and institutions of the temple, a repre- 
sentation is to be made to the Collector of the tax for tne orders of 
the Governor General in Council, if it appear necessary. The 
third dewul Purcha shall give account to the Collecter of the tax of 
all offerings and presents made to the idol The collection of the 
tax IS intrusted to an officer with the official designation of ''The 
Collector of the Tax on Pilgrims,^' subject to the authority of the Col- 
lector at Cuttack ; the general superintendence of the collections, and 
the control of the officers employed in the performance of that duty, is 
vested in the Board of Revenue at Fort William. The avenues for the 
admission of pilgrims shall be confined to two Ghauts, Attara Nullah on the 
North, and Ghaut Lokenauth on the south-west of the town of Jugger- 
naut Pooree. The pilgrims liable to the tax shall be divided into four 
clases'- laid jattreesy nim latds, hhurrungs^ punj tirthees, including the 
following persons of low cast who are not permitted to enter the tem- 
ple.* The rate of tax payable by the difierent classes is as follows : — 
vis. pilgrims of the first class from the north, passing the Attarah Nul- 
lah, pay a tax of ten rupees; from the south, passing Lokenaut, six 
rupees. Pilgrims of the second class from the north pay five rupees; 
from the south three rupees. Pilgrims of the third class, from either 
the north or south, pay two rupees. Pilgrims of the fourth class, passing 
either Ghauts, pay two rupees, A pilgrim of the first class is allowed 
free access to the temple for thirty days, constantly attended by a punda. 
He may be exempted from the attendance of these officers by a furtlier 
payment of ten rupees to the Collector; and by surrendering his pass 
shall be allowed to remain in the town as long as he pleases. Pilgrims 
of the second class, at the Car Festival, are allowed access to the temple 
ten days ; at other festivals seven days only. Pilgrims of the third class, 
at the Car Festival, are allowed five days ; at other times but four ; and 
roust be attended by a pun ^. Pilgrims of |he fourth class are allowed 
to worship outside the temple sixteen days. Pilgrims may enrol them- 
selves in either of the first three classes on paying the prescribed tax. 
Printed certificates shall be procurable on the payment of the fixed tax, 
at the office of the Secretary to the Board of Revenue, the Collector of 
Cuttack and Ganjam, and at the two Ghauts. Form as follows : — 

* These are kusbee (prostitutes), cullal (liquor sellers), machoowa 
(fishermen), numosooder (boatmen), ghooskee (private bad women), 
gazur (labourers who carry burdens on their heads), baugdee (fishers 
labourers), joogee (weavers), kahar bawry (bearers), raujbunsee (different 
cast of boatmen), chamar (shoe-makers), dbomee (washermen), paun 
(basket-makers], teor (another cast of boatmen), bhoinmalee (makers of 
garlands, &c., for marriages), haddee (maters). These sixteen casts are 
not suffered to enter the temple to worship Juggernaut. 

S18 India's Cries to 

" A, B., inkabit4mt of in the dutriet of ■ , having this 

day paid into this office the sum of sicca rupees — — y is entitled to pass 

through the • Ghaut without further interruption, as a laid jattree 

to the cutcherry of the Collector of the tax at Jnggernaut. On producing 
this icertifcate to the said Collector, he is further entitled to receive a 
pass, and to have access to the temple thirty days J* 

Names or Designation 
of attendants. 

Amount of tax paid 

Period for which to 
visit the temple. 

Forms No. 2, 3, and 4, differ only in the names of the class of pilgrims, 
the rate of tax, and the period of attendance at the temeple. A pilgrim 
•f the first class, desirous of visiting the temple with his family and at- 
tendants, not exceeding twenty persons, these must first pay the tax 
of the second or third class, and then they may stop as long as their 
master. The certificates shall be dated ana attested by the official seal, 
the blank places JUted up, Sfc. A pilgrim presenting the printed certifi- 
cate is to be allowed to pass without interruption. The molestation of 
such an individual by the daroga at the Ghaut shall be punished by a 
fine not exceeding his salary for three months and dismissal from ofHce. 
The duty of the Collector of Juggernaut is to superintend the conduct of 
the darogas. Pilgrims of the first, second, and third classes, having 
passed the Ghauts at Juggernaut, are to apply to the Collector for a 
license of access to the temple in the following form : — 

**A, B., inhabitant of , in the district of , is entitled to 

perform the customary ceremonies, under charge of during 

danfs, that is to say, from the — day of the month of until 

the " '■ day of the month of ; and for that period you will 

afford to the holders hereof free access to the temple of Juggernaut. At 
the expiration of the period granted you will return the iKense into the 
office of the Collector of tax/' 

The fourth class, who are not allowed to enter the temple, receive'a 
form a little differing from the above. In case of sickness the Collector 
is allowed to extend the period of a pilgrim's continuance in the town, 
but is to observe due caution in the exercise of this authority. Pil- 
grims are not to be delayed obtaining license to visit the temple, and 
therefore a sufficient number of blank licenses are to be prepared. The 
Collector of the tax shall keep a register of licenses granted, and every 
punda or purharee who neglects to return them shall be fined, in no case 
exceeding the amount of the tax paid by the first class of pilgrims. The 
attendants of the fourth class' are to return their license or be fined, in no 
case exceeding one month's salary. Pilgrims stopping in the toum be- 
yond the time prescribed, are to be expelled the town by the police daroga. 
The following descriptions of persons are exempt from paying the tax *. 
viz. byragees, sunyasees, dundies, brumacharies, mohunts, gosains, kho- 
martees, and nagas, persons employed in carrying the water of the 
Ganges to Juggernaut and pouring the water over the idol at Lokenaut, 
and persons resorting to Juggernaut Pooree for trade (excepting for 
twelve days from the beginning of the Car Festival), or any o^r pur- 
pose except on pilgrimage. Persons professing to be carriers of the 
water of the Ganges are to be placed under the conduct of a punda ; 
and on refusing to do it are to be expelled the town, or to pay the tax. 
Persons intending to live in the town the remainder of life are exempted 
from the tax, if tliey are not able to pay it. All native military officers 

British HummUy. 319 

and sepoys on duty at Juggernaut are exempted from tax, but, to obtain 
admittance into the temple, a pass must be received from the commanding 
officer at the station to the Collector of Tax, who shall then admit them 
free. Servants of Europeans may enter the town without paying the 
the tax. The exemption from tax of persons born within the Bytumee 
river and Ganjam, having been found detrimental to the public revenue^ 
and as under the Mahratta Government such persons were made to pay 
the tax, the following rules respecting the exemption of such persons are 
enacted : During the Ruth and Dole Festivals, the exemption in favour 
of these people is restricted to the residents within Pipley, to the north, 
and Manickpatam, to the south ; at all other times of the year they pass 
free. At the above festivals they have to pay a tax as follow : viz. Lauls, 
one rupee ; Nim Lauls, eight annas ; Bhurrungs, four annas. They are 
to receive the same attention as other pilgrims. Kungals or pilgrims in 
actual state of poverty, on declaring it, under certain preserved ceremo- 
niei, are admitted free.* The Collector of the tax is required to give 
every attention to the religious opinions of the Hindoos, and the parti- 
cular institutions of the temple.f 

The Collector of the Pilgrim Tax at Juggernaut, in 
March, 1806, proposed to the Government in Calcutta the 
adoption of a premium for the pundas who collect the pil- 
grims. He stated, **As the pilgrims will never be well 
treated by their conductors, unless they receive a present 
from their own hands, I beg leave to propose that the fees 
of the pundas, &c., be publicly fixed, and collected by the 
pundas themselves, separate from the tax, as was formerly 
done under the Mahratta Governmentc^' To this it was 
replied :— ** The Governor General in Council approves of 
your proposition for permitting the pundas to collect a fee 
from the pilgrims, exclusive of the tax payable to Govern- 
ment ; you will accordingly ^/£r the rates at which stich/ee 
should be levied^ and publish the rates for general inform- 
ation at the temple, and in its vicinity. — March 20, 1806.'*t 

Colonel Phipps, of the Bengal Native Infantry, station- 
ed at Juggernaut in 1822, in an interesting article re- 
specting the temple and worship of Juggernaut, gives the 
following information relative to the collectors of pilgrims, 
and the premium they receive : — ** It having been decided 
that a tax should be levied, every precaution was taken to 

* Numbers have perished from neglect, and disease, before they vrere 
admitted through the gates into the town; A correspondent, under date 
June, 1827, states that sheds for accommodating three or four thousand 
pilgrims, have been erected under the superintendence and at the expense 
of the British Government. 

t Harington*s Analysis, vol. iii. pp. 209 — 220. — Far. Papers, relative 
to Juggernaut, May, 1813, pp. 81 — 86. 

I Par. Papers, May, 1813, p. 35. 

220 Indians Cries to 

make it yield as much as possible. Alterations were made 
in the Regulations from time to time. One of the principal 
was in the mode of rewarding the purharees and pundas* 
The purharees are a body of people who reside at Pooree, 
governed by four surdars ; one of whom is their gomasta^ 
or chief manager^ who attends at the Attara Nulla, where 
the main barrier, or gate, is placed. They have a great 
number of subordinate agents, who travel about in search 
tf pilgrims, and bring them in companies to Juggernaut. 
The pundas are the servants of the idol, and do the same 
duties as the purharees at the barrier. The Government 
at first authorized these people to collect at the barriers a 
fee from the pilgrims for their own benefit; but, this pri- 
vilege having been abused, it was resolved that the British 
Collector should levy, beside the fax for the State, an ad- 
ditional one, the amount of which lie svhseqttentl/y paid 
over to tlie purharees and pundas, in such proportions as 
they were entitled to, from the number of pilgrims which 
each had sitcceeded in enticing to undertake thepilgrrim- 
age. The pilgrims who attend the festival of the Cbundun 
Jattra, and wish to remain in order to see the Ruth Jattra, 
are termed LalJattrees. They pay ten rupees to Govern- 
ment, and three rupees to the priests who have brought 
them, if they come from the northward ; and, if they 
come from the southward, six rupees to Government, and 
three rupees for the priest. A great many pilgrims attend 
the Ghaund or Snan Jattra ; and those who then wish to 
remain a fortnight, and see the Ruth Jattra, are termed 
Nim Lauls. If they come from the northward, they pay 
to Government five rupees, and a rupee and a half to the 
person who brings them ; if from the southward, three rupees 
to Government, and half that sum to the punda who brings 
them. Two rupees six annas is the tax for five days."^ 

" Some persons, on leaving this place, deposit with the 
Brahmuns of the temple one or t^ro hundred rupees, with 
the interest of which they are to purchase rice, and present 
it daily to Juggernaut, and afterwards to dundees or Brah- 
muns. Deeds of gift are also made to Juggernaut all over 
Hindostan, which are received by agents in every large 
town, and paid to the mutdharees at Juggernaut Pooree, 
who by this means (though professing themselves mendi- 

* Mis. Register, Dec. 1824, pp. 575—580- See Friend of India, 
Oct. 1825, p. 270. 

British Humanity. 


cants) have become some of the richest merchants in 

Among the volnminous documents pubUshed by order of 
Parliament in 1818 there is no o£Bcial estimate of the 
number of pilgrims resorting annually to this temple. ** The 
following is a statement of pilgrims of all classes who at- 
tended for the last five years at the three great festivah^ 
procured from the most authentic sources : — 





1!18— 19 





At the great Car Festival in July 1825 it was stated that 
the number of pilgrims was 225^000. 


6ya is the modern capital of Behar, lat. 24. 49. N., long. 
85. E. Distance from Calcutta 322 miles. Population 
about 90,000. To procure the salvation of deceased rela- 
tions, crowds of Hindoos here perform the shradda, or 
funeral ceremonies for deceased relatives .{ 

** No printed regulations have been enacted relative to 
the tax levied at 6ya, the duty of the Collector, and a 
European Superintendent, being simply to receive a fixed 
rate of tax upon licenses granted to Uie pilgrims for visiting 
the different places of worship and pilgrimage in the 
vicinity of the town. In a statement from the Collector at 
Gya, in July 1790, the rates of duty paid by pilgrims for 
permission to perform their religious ceremonies chiefly in 
honour of deceased ancestors, at the river Phulgo, or ad- 
jacent places, were stated to vary from six annas to twelve 
rupees, eleven annas, three pie. This duty of Government 
is independent of donations to the gyawak, or priests. 

* Ward's View of the Hindoos. Vol. ii. p. 135. 

t Stirling's Account of Orissa. — ^Asi. Reg. Vol. xv. p. 225. 

J For a recent account of Gya, see Mis. Reg. Nov. 1827, p. 548; 

222 Indians Cries to 

Ever since the city of 6ya became famous for its saactity, 
it has been the custom of its Brahmuns to travel through all 
countries where the Hindoo religion prevails in search of 
pilgrims, whose donations are considered the property of 
the g^awal, through whose means they are brought. These 
contributions have ever been a source of considerable 
wealth, and are the property of those, who, but for them, would 
probably never have visited Gya. When a pilgrim arrives, 
his gyawal, or religions father, conducts him to the daroga, 
or superintending officer of the sayer collections, and ex- 
plains to him the ceremonies which the pilgrim is desirous 
of performing ; after which an order, specifying the names 
of the pilgrim and gyawal, as also the ceremonies, are made 
out voider the official seal and signature of the Collector, 
authorizing the performance of the ceremonies. At the time 
of delivering this order, the duty (to Government) is paid, 
which varies acccyrding to the\ number and nature of the 
rites performed. "* 

The nature of idolatry at this place is thus described : — 
" At Gya there is a particular stone on which Vishnoo set 
his foot, and a person by putting on this stone, in the form 
prescribed, a certain paste prepared there, and by repeating 
at the same time the name of a deceased friend, can 
transfer that friend from hell itself to supreme felicity : and 
this benefit he may ex^nd, not to one friend only, but, by 
repeated applications of paste, to as many as he can recol* 
lect, even of his distant ancestors! !''t 

** The British Government has an agent at Gya, who 
levies a tax on pilgrims, according to the magnitude of the 
ceremonies he means to perform. One class visiting only 
one place, pay two J th rupees ; another visiting two pUwes, 
three %thrupees; a thirdvisitingthirty-eightplaces, pay four 
^th rupees, and the fourth class, visiting forty-flve places, 
pay fourteen \th rupees. The duty to Government, hbw- 
ever^ is but a small part of the pilgrim's expense ; for he is 
fleeced by the priests, not only of all the money he brings 
with him, but of promissory notes for future payments, 
which are sent to him when he returns home ; the priests of 
Gya maintaining emissaries for this purpose in the remotest 
parts of India, which they also occasionally visit on specula* 
tion. The most numerous votaries are Bengalees and 

* Harington's Analysis, Vol. iiL p. 207. 

t Grant's Observ. &c., Par. Papers, June, 1813, p. 61 

British Humanity. 223 

Mahrattas ; and some of the great chiefi of the latter have 
been known to expend 50,000 rupeeg.*** 


*' Allahabad is the capital of a province of the same name, 
situated at the confluence of the Ganges and Jumna. 
Lat. 25° 27" N., Long. 81° 50" K Distance from Cal- 
cutta 550 miles, and from Benares fifty-three miles. Popu^ 
lation in 1803, without the garrison, 20,000. By the Brah- 
muns Allahabad is called Bhat Prayag; or, by way of 
distinction, as it is the largest and most holy, is simply 
designated Prayag. The other four Prayagas (or sacred 
confluences of rivers) are situated in the province of Seri* 
nagur, at the junction of the Alacananda with other streams, 
and are named Devaprayaga, Rudraprayaga, Camaprayaga, 
and Nandaprayaga. This Prayaga owes its celebrity to 
the junction at this spot of the Ganges, Jumna, and Seres- 
wate. There is no such river as the last now visible in the 
neighbourhood, but the Hindoos assert that it joins the 
other two under ground, and that by bathing here the same 
religious merit is acquired as if the penitent had bathed in 
the three separately. Many persons renounce life at this 
confluence, by going in a boat, after the performance of 
certain solemnities, to the exact spot where the three rivers 
unite, where the devotee plunges into the stream, with 
three pots of water tied to his body.+ When a pilgrim 
arrives, he Jirst sits down on the hank of the river, and 
has his head and body shaved, so that each hair may fall 
into the water, the sacred writings promising him one 
million of yeari residence in heaven for every hair thus 
deposited! I After shaving, he bathes ; and the same day, 
or the next, performs the obsequies of his deceased ances- 

The following Rules are enacted by Regulation xviii., 
1810, for the collection of duties on pilgrims at Allahabad, 
and for the prevention of abuses in such collections. The 
duties paid by pilgrims resorting to the conflux of the rivers 
Ganges and Jumna, at Allahabad, are levied at the follow- 
ing rates: — 

* Hamilton's Hindostan, vol. i. p. 265. 

t This is said to have been recently abolished by the Britbh magis- 
trate. Asiat. Jouni. August ia27, p. 241 . § Ham. Hiqd. vol. i. p. 300. 

224 India's Cries to 

" On erery pilgrim on foot, one rupee. 

On every pilgrim with a horse, or palanquin, or carriage of any 
description, two rupeet. 

On every pilgrim with a camel, three rupees. 

On every pilgrim with an elephant, twenty rupees. 

All other duties or fees at the Ghaut, within the foit, or at any other 
place, are prohibited. Every pilgrim on application to the Collector of 
the Land Kevenue at Allahabad shall be furnished with a license to per- 
form the usual ceremonies ; and no person shall be admitted to perform 
such ceremonies without a license. The inhabitants of the town and 
suburbs of Allahabad, and the Hindoos in the Honourable Company's 
Army, are exempt from duty ; but every such person must be furnished 
with a license of exemption from the Collector, before he can he entitled to 
perform the reugious ceremonies. No tax of any kind shall be imposed 
upon the shaving barbers attending at the conflux of the rivers ; but they 
shall be required to register their names at the Collector's office, and 
execute an obligation to the Collector, under a penalty of fifty rupees in 
every instance of contravention, not to perform that part of the cere- 
mony, resting with them, to any one without a license. Access to the 
place of ablution shall be restricted to a certain number of gates and 
avenues, fixed by a barrier annually established, on the subsiding of the 
rivers, from the palisades of the fort to the bank of the river : and no 
person shall be admitted through such barrier without the prescribed 
license. Such numbers and descriptions of native officers as may be 
approved by the Board of Commissioners shall be stationed by the 
Collector at the barrier, to prevent any person performing the cere- 
monies without a license. A sufficient military force shalloon application 
of the Collector, be posted at the barrier during the mela or principal con- 
course of pilgrims in January and February, who shall prevent the people 
breaking through the barrier or otherwise forcing admission. The licenses 
and exemptions, after being shown at the place of admission, shall be 
delivered up to the officers, to be returned to the Collector in order to 
their being cancelled. Persons, with a view to avoid the payment of the 
duty, attempting to cross over in boats from the opposite side of the 
river to the place of ablution, shall be liable to a fine of three times the 
prescribed duty : and, if any barber shall assist any such person in per- 
forming the ceremonies, he shall be liable to the penalty stipulated in 
his engagements. No barber, except such as shall nave entered into the 
prescribed obligation, shall officiate in the ceremonies ; and any barber 
contravening this prohibition shall be liable to the penalty of fifty rupees 
for every pilgrim shaved ; and, if not able to pay, he shall be committed 
to jail for three months."* 

Tlie proceeds of this system, and the appropriation of 
them, appear from the notes appended to this section of the 
" Analysis." 


Gross collection of Pilgram Tax for 1815—16 > ^ ^^^ 

(including 72 rupees miscellaneous receipts) 3 ' 

* Harington's Analysis, vol. iii. p. 222. 

British Humanity, 225 


Assessment of endowed lands 26,818 

Sale of holy food''' 5,484 



Deduct charges for establishment and contin-) 17143 

gencies ) * 

Expenses of Juggernaut's Temple 56,372 

English cloth for the three cars 1,365 


Net collection . . . £11,147 

Dr. Buchanan, in his '' Christian Researciies,'' states, 
from official accounts, the annual expenses of the Idol 
Juggernaut, presented to the English Government, as fol- 
lows : — 

Rupees. £. 

Expense of the table of the Idol . . . 36,115 or 4,514 

Ditto of his dress or wearing apparel . 2,712 — 339 

Ditto of the wages of his servants . . . 10,057 — 1,259 

Ditto of contingent expenses at the ) ^^ qoQ , 070 

diflFerent seasons of pilgrimage . . ) ' ' 

Ditto of his elephants and horses . . . 3,030 — 378 

Ditto of his ruth, or annual state car- ) ^ „y^ r^«g 

riage • .) 

Rupees 69,616 £8,702 

" In item * wages of servants' are included the wages 

* " With the consent of the Purchas I deputed an Aumeen to oversee 
and state the produce from the sale of holy food, the quantity and value 
of cloth presented for the purpose of being displayed on the ^heel at 
the top of the temple, on which Government receives, from the person 
presenting, its full value as a fee, under the head of Dujja, exclusive of 
which he has also to pay the fee of the Purchas and others, for their mi- 
nistry during tiie ceremony." G. Webb, Collector of Tax, Dec. 1807. 
Par. Papers, 1813, p. 65. 


226 Indians Cries to 

of the courtesans, who are kept for the service of the 

** Item sixth — ^What is called in the official account * the 
state carriage' is the same as the car or tower. Mr. Hunter 
(the Collector of the Pilgrim Tax) imformed me that three 
* state carriages' were decorated this year (June 1806) with 
upwards of £200 sterling worth of English hroad cloth and 

What a trifling sum is 11,147 rupees, about £1,393 
sterling, as the clear gain of supporting idolatry at Jugger- 
naut ; a gain, doubtless, accompanied by the death of hun* 
dreds of unhappy pilgrims ! The variation in the annual 
number of pilgrims is considerable ; the principal cause is 
the early or late commencement of the most popular festi- 
vals. The mortality in the rainy season is great, and inti- 
midates even the superstitious Hindoos from undertaking 
the pilgrimage. Mr. -Harington states "the net receipts 
for 1814 — 15 at 135,667 rupees, and the number of taxed 
pilgrims, who were assembled from different parts of India 
at the Snan and Rut Jattra in May and June, to have been 
77,323, inclusive of those exempted from the payment of 
duties. The attendance of pilgrims in June and July, 
1815, who paid the established duty, was 5,444. The differ- 
ence is partly to be ascribed to the lateness of the season of 
the principal festival, and the difficulty of travelling by 
land in Cuttack and the adjacent districts/' 

J. Poynder, Esq., in his interesting speech on ^* Human 
Sacrifices in India,^' at a General Court of Proprietors, 
in March 1827, gives the following statement relative to 
the temple of Juggernaut : p. 261. 

* For the character of these persons see Heber's Journ., vol. ii. 
p. 383. 

Britith Humanity. 




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228 Indians Cries io 


The amount of Pilgrim Tax at Gya appears more consi- 
derable than at Juggernaut; and is, with a small deduction, 

thrown into the Public Treasury. 


" Gross collections from May, 1815, to April, 1816, 229,805 
Deduct charges of collections and 1 per cent. > y q21 

io English Superintendent S 

Charitable allowances to several individuals . - . 2,530 
Donation to Native Hospital in Calcutta .... 11,300 
Native Rajah, 10 per cent, on net collections . . 26,078 



Leaving the net receipts . . £22,859" 


*' The receipts and disbursements of the tax on pilgrims 
for 1815-16 were as follow: — 

Gross collections, including 695 rupees levied! 
from pilgrims without licenses, who attempted> 79,779 

to evade the tax 3 

Charges and commission of 5 per cent, to the > ^ 1^26 

English Collector $ ' 

Net receipts to Government . . . £9,131*' 


*' This is the most celebrated Hindoo temple south of the 
Krishna river, lat. 13. 46. N., long. 79. 24. E., eighty miles 
north-west from Madras. The temple is placed . in an ele- 
vated hollow or basin, enclosed by a circular crest of hills, 
the precincts of which have never been profaned by Christ- 
ian or Mahomedan feet, nor has even the exterior of it 
been seen but by a genuine Hindoo. The reciprocal in- 
terests of thd Brahmuns, and of the different rulers under 
whose sway it fell, compromised this forbearance by the 

British Humanity. 229 

payment of large sums to Government^ which, in 1758, 
amounted to £30,000 sterling. The incarnation of Vishnu, 
worshipped here, has a variety of names, as Vencata Ram, 
and Tripati ; but, by the Mahrattas, he is named Ballajee, 
and his functions are considered to have particular reference 
to commerce. Crowds of pilgrims resort to it from all parts 
of India, who pour into it offerings of goods, grain, gold, 
silver, jewels, precious stuffs, horses, cows, and other arti- 
cles, the aggregate of which, when converted into money, 
not only yields a sMrplus revenue to Government^ but serves 
to maintain several thousand persons pefforming the offices 
of an idolatrous worship, which is here condu>cted with 
extraordinary pomp. The traders of the Banyan and Bat- 
tia tribes of Guzerat are accustomed to present a per cent- 
age of their profits to the temple annually. The amount 
realized to the British Government at this temple was, in 
1809, 60,791 star pagodas; 1810, 50,722; 1811, 50,722; 
or about £19,000 sterling."* 

*' It appears from the public accounts of 1815-16 that 
a small collection of tax is made from the pilgrims of Seetla 
Dabee at Kasheepoor, Surkura, .and Sunibul, in the dis- 
trict of Moradabad ; and from the pilgrims of Soru in 
Itawa* The amount received in the former district was 
2592 rupees, and in the latter 3091 rupees in the year re- 
ferred to. But I have not been able to obtain any further 
information relative to these collections." f 

The following items show the gain of this unnatural as- 
sociation with Idolatry^ the baneful influence of which, in 
supporting and aggrandizing it, is very considerable : — 

Net receipts of Pilgrim Tax at Juggernaut, > -iog g^ 

Ditto at Gya, ...... . . '. '. . . '. ISlslie 182,876 

Ditto at Allahabad 1815-16 73,053 

Kasheepoor, Surkuru, Sumbul,' and Itawa,7 ^#3Qo 

1815—16 S ' 

8 )397,279 

Tripetty near Madras for 1811 19,000 

Total £68;6^ 

* Hamilton's Hind. vol. ii. p. 431, 432. f Har. Analysis, vol. iii. p. 208. 

280 India's Cries tQ 

The following traces of British connexion with Idolatrg 
and Mahomedanism^ in various parts of India, are ex-* 
tracted from Hamilton's Description of Eundostan, 2 vob. 
quarto, dedicated to the late Right Honourable 6. Cannings 
President of the Board of Control, &c., £cc. 

" Dacca is situated about 100 miles above the mouth of 
the Ganges, and 180 by land from Calcutta. The Nabob 
of Dacca has long been celebrated for the suavity of his 
manners, and his steady attachment to the British Govern- 
ment. In 1807 an allowance of 3000 rupees was granted 
to him for the repair of a Building devoted to rel^ous pur- 
poses, not only on account of the uniform propriety of his 
conduct, and me respectability of his character, but also as 
a public indication of the disposition of the British Govern- 
ment to support the freedom of religious worship among all 
classes of their subjects."* 

*' Bate Isle. An isl^d situated at the western extre- 
mity of the Gujerat peninsula. Shunkowar is its proper 
name, and is derived from that of a Hindod demon, so 
named from his dwelling in a large shunk or conch shell, 
wherein he concealed die sacred Vedas, which he had 
stolen from Brahma. A.n incarnation of Vishnu, under the 
name of Shunk Narayan, cut open the shells and restored 
the Vedas to their lawful owner. The demon pleaded as 
his excuse that he hoped to have been put to death by 
Vishnu for the theft, which would have insured him future 
happiness. In consequence of this exploit, Shunk Narayan 
(Vishnu), or the destroyer of the shell demon, established 
his own worship on the island, where it continued paramount 
until the flight of another Hindoo deity, named Kunchor, 
from Dwaraca, to escape the friry of a Mahomedan army ; 
since which time Rnnchor has been supreme on Bate. In 
1462 this place was taken by Sultan Mahmood Begra of 
Ahmedabad and Gujerat, who demolished the temples, 
broke the images, and gave up the country to indiscriminate 
plunder. In 1816 Colonel East advanced with a detach- 
ment towards the Isle of Bate, which quietly surrendered^ 
on the promise of a suitable provision and complete security 
for their private property and religious establishments. An 
agreement was executed, by the conditions of which they 
engaged not to permit, instigate, or connive at any act of 

Vol. i. p. 186. 

BritUh Humanity. 281 

piracy committed by any person under their authority, and 
also to abstain from plnndering vessels in distress. A free 
or open commerce to be permitted to all British vessels 
paying the regalated duties. The British, by this treaty , 
undertook to afford tlie temple at Bate suitable protection 
and encotffragement /"* 

** Dwaraca. A town and celebrated temple situated at 
the western end of the Gujerat Peninsula. It is the most 
original and sacred spot in this part of India. About 600 
years ago the valued image of their god, Runchor (an in* 
carnation of Krishna), by a manoeuvre of the Brahmuns 
was conveyed to Daccoor, in Gujerat, where it still remains. 
After much trouble the Brahmuns at Dwaraca substituted 
another in its stead ; which unfortunately also took flight 
across a narrow arm of the sea, to the island of Bate, about 
135 years ago, on which event another new one was placed 
in the temple here ! Dwaraca is designated by the name of 
the island ; and, having long been the residence of Krishna, 
it is a celebrated place of pUgprimage for the sectaries of that 
religion. At Muddee, near Dwaraca, the land thieves of 
Oka are named Kaba, a Sanscrit word which signifies a 
seeker or searcher, on account of the severe scrutiny all 
pilgrims and unprotected travellers undergo. The rags of 
the Byragee are carefully examined, and the ball of ashes, 
with which he besmears his body, is broken by these robbers 
in hopes of finding some small coin concealed in it ! The 
pirates in this part placed great reliance on the power of 
their deity at Dwaraca, his priests and attendants being the 
strongest instigators to depredation. In return they (the 
priests, &c.) received a certain portion of all plundered 
property, as a recompense for the protection they (the 
pirates) receive from the Idol Runchor. Before embarking, 
it was a common practice for the pirates to promise a larger 
share than the god could claim by right, if he would ensure 
success to their trip. Many vessels were fitted out in the 
name of Runchor, as sole owner, and actually belonged to 
the temple, which received the plunder they brought back. 

** The average number of pilgrims resorting annually to 
Dwaraca has been estimated to exceed 15,000, and the 
revenue derived to the temples about a lack of rupees 
(£12,500). The revenue derived from the holy places 

Vol. i. pp. 661, 662. 

232 Indians Cries to 

has been decreasing, as well as the number of pilgrims. In 
1807 the chief of Dwaraca engaged not to permit or insti- 
gate any act of piracy, and the British Government en- 
gaged to afford the temple every suitable protection and 
encouraaement : a free and open commerce was permitted 
to vessels paying the regulated duties. The depredations 
by sea renewed on British property, and the predatory sys- 
tem into the adjacent countries commenced by land, made 
the conquest of Okamundel the only effectual remedy for 
evils of such inveteracy and duration. Dhengee was cap- 
tured by Colonel East in 1816, with inconsiderable loss; 
and, notwithstanding the treachery meditated by the Dwa- 
raca chief, in consideration of the sanctity of the place,* he 
determined to attempt a negociation which was finally suc- 
cessful. In 1817 Okamundel, with its holy places of Bate 
and Dwaraca, was finally transferred to the Baroda Govem- 

" Puttan Somnauth is a town near the southern extre- 
mity of the Gujerat Peninsula. Somnauth is one of the 
twelve images of Seeb, which are said to have descended 
from heaven to earth ; and the great fame of its temple at- 
tracted the cupidity, while it stimulated the bigotry, of 
Sultan Mahmoodf of Ghizni. According to Mabomedan 
authors, the image was destroyed, but the Hindoos assert 
that the god retired into the ocean ! The symbol placed in 
the temple is deemed peculiarly propitious to those who de- 
sire offspring. It is visited by pilgrims from every quarter, 
who pay a trifling duty to the Nabob for permission to per- 
form their devotions at this favourite shrine. In 1816, 
through the interposition of the Bombay Presidency with 
the Junaghar State, arrangements were effected, tending to 
secure greater freedom of pilgrimage to Somnauth.^ 

** Poona, the modern capital of the Mahratta empire, is 
situated 100 miles from Bombay. The view from Parvate 
hill commands the town with all its gardens and plantations, 
the cantonments, and the British residency at the Sungum. 
At the bottom of the hill is a large square field enclosed 
with high brick walls, where the Peishwa used to assemble 
the Brahmuns, to whom he gave alms at the great feast, 
when the rainy season terminates ; who, on these occasions, 

* Why such respect for this idolatrous place — a den of thieves and 
pirates? f Vol. i. pp. 657—663. X Vol. i. p. 671. Asi. Jour. Feb. 
1827, p. 256.] 

British Humanity. 233 

begged their way from all parts of Hindostan. When all 
were assembled they were shut in and marked ; and as they 
came out, one at a time, the gratuity was given to them. 
Something of the same kind is still continued by the British 

" Seringapatam is the modern capital of Mysore. Hy- 
der's palace occupies the east end of the island, and although 
bailt of mud displays considerable elegance, and is a very 
handsome native structure. Adjoining is the mausoleum of 
Hyder, where rests all that was royal of this Mahomedan 
dynasty, consisting of Hyder himself, his wife, and Tippoo, 
who lie under tombs covered with rich cloths, at the ex- 
pense of the British Government ; and the establishment of 
priests to offer up prayers, and of musicians to perform 
the Nobut (an instirament of music beaten five times a day), 
is retained as formerly. Hyder's palace is now the resi- 
dence of a surgeon; his seraglio, a European Hospital. 
Tippoo's seraglio is a barrack for artillery ; his private 
apartments are occupied by the Resident, and his public by 
European troops. How greatly degraded from thfeir ancient 
dignity ! ''f Is not this establishment of priests supported 
by a Christian Government? 

'* Colar is the capital of a district of the same name, 40 
miles from Bangalore. It was the birth place of Hyder. 
His son, Tippoo, erected a handsome monument for him ; 
and near it a mosque and college of Moullahs, or Maho- 
medan priests (with a proper establishment of musicians), 
were endowed to pray for his soul: the whole of which is 
still continued at the expense of the British Government. % 

Of the district of Tanjore, it is remarked, — " The Ma- 
homedans never having actaally occupied this territory, or 
effected any permanent establishment in it, the Hindoo re- 
ligion has been preserved in considerable splendour, and 
their ancient places of worship, with their vast endowments, 
remain untouched. In almost every village there is a 
temple, with a lofty gateway of massive but not inelegant 
architecture, where a great many Brahmuns are maintained, 
either by the revenues formerly attached to them, or by an 
allowance from Government. The Brahmuns are here the 
chief holders of land, and perform almost every office of 
husbandry, except holding the plough. They are all ex- 
tremely loyal, on account of the protection they receive, 

* Ham. Hind. tol. ii. p. 196. f P- 362. t p. 374. 

S84 Indians Cru9 ta 

and also for an aUowance granted by the British Ghvem^ 
ment of 45,000 pagodas (about £18,000 sterling) an- 
nuatly, which is distributed for the support of the poorer 
temples*^ How mach good would thb sam do, if ex- 
pended in supporting Christian schools, and the circulation 
of the Bible! 

The temple of Seringham is situated in the district of 
Trichinopoly, under the Madras Presidency. " Pilgrims 
resort to it from all parts of Hindostan for absolution, and 
none come without an offering of value. .Here, as in all 
great Pagodas, the Brahmuns live in a subordination that 
knows no resistance, and slumber in voluptuousness that 
feels no want. At present the allowance made by the 
British Government for the support of the temple^ and its 
establishment, amount to 15fi00 pagodas per annum f about 
£6,240 sterling./'f It is to be lamented that voluptuous 
Brahmuns should be supported by a Christian Government, 
when Christianity would prove so great a blessing to the 
people of India. 

" Condatchy is a bay in the island of Ceylon, and the 
most central rendezvous of the boats employed in the pearl 
fishery. The superstition of the divers renders it necessary 
for the Government to employ two enchanters to charm the 
sharks, in which they appear to be very successful, as, at 
though they are seen, both from the boats, and while the 
diver is at the bottom, accidents rarely occur ! These ne- 
cromancers are all of one family, and possess the entire 
confidence of the natives. Two divers are attached to one 
stone, and go down alternately ; and, when 300 boats are 
anchored on the banks, 1,500 divers may be supposed to go 
down every minute; and, probably, by their noise and num- 
bers, assist the incantations of the shark charmers ! These 
impostors receive ten oysters from every diver's share, and 
the same number are allotted for the pagodas at Ramis-^ 
seram and Nagore, besides other privileges and emoluments 
of very ancient date, which have been continued by the 
British Government.":^: 

'' Serinagur is the capital of the province Gurwal, 
thirty-eight miles from Hurdwar. On the opposite side of 
the river, at the village of Banibut, is a temple sacred to 
Raja Ishwara ; which is principally inhabited by dancing 
women. The initiation into this society is performed by 

* Ham. Hind. vol. ii. p. 453. f ^^^' I P- ^^^' 

British Humanity. 

anoioting the head with oil taken from the lamp placed 
before the altar; by which act they make a formal tAfura* 
turn of their parents and kindred^ devoting their future 
lives to prostitution.* Among the items of eleemosynary 
donations distributed to Brahmwns and others by the old 
Governments^ and contint^d by the British, the principal 
in amount is 512 rupees, which is given to various tribes 
of religious mendicants, who frequent a mela or fair, held 
annually near Serinagur.f Ought Britain thus to saQction 
and encourage obsceni^? Woald it be done were these 
things fully known ? Happy day when British connexion 
with idolatry in India is dissolved, of whose temples, as well 
as those of ancient Rome, it may be said — 

*' Nam quo non prostat fcemina templo ?— Jtiv. 

" Bhadrinath is a town and temple, about eiffhty miles 
from Almora, in Kumaon. The principal Idol, Bhadrinath, 
is about three feet high, cut in black stone, or marble, 
dressed in a suit of gold and silver brocade, the head and 
hands only being uncovered. His temple has more bene- 
ficed lands attached to it than any sacred Hindoo estab- 
lishment in this part of India. In 1808 it was said to pos- 
sess 700 villages, which are all under the jurisdiction of the 
high priest, who holds a paramount authority, nominally in- 
dependent of the ruling power. It was determined that the 
revenues of the purgannas, appropriated to temples and 
other religions buildings, should be continued, provided 
that the Commissioner was satisfied that they would not be 
diverted from their original purpose, and (as too frequently 
happens) converted to a source of individual emolument. 

* " The worship of Brahma is constitutionally impure. There are 
temples of consecration for a life of impurity : these exist at Cambaya, 
Tivikarey, and other places of Hindostan. Tavemier mentioned the ex- 
istence of the system. <' From Cambaya you go to a little village, dis- 
tant three coss, where there is a pagoda, to which all the Indian courte- 
sans come to make their offerings. This pagoda is full of a great numr 
ber of naked images. Among the rest there is a laree figure of one that 
seems to resemble Apollo, all uncovered/' Girls of eleven and twelve 
years old, who have been bought and educated for tlie purpose, are sent 
by their mistresses to this pagoda '' to offer and surrender tiiemselves up 
to this idol/' (Tavemier's Travels in .India, p. 37, 1678). See the 
Apocraphy, Baruch, ch. vi. ver. 43, and 2 Kings ch. xvii. ver. 30, respect- 
ing Succoth benoth. Is it possible that any man, whose mind has oeen 
cultivated under the influence of Christian principles^ can wish such a 
system to be perpetuated? 

t Ham. Hind. vol. ii. p. 640. 

336 India's Cries to 

The repair of the road from Serinagur to Bhadrinath ako 
appeared an object of some importance as encouraging the 
resort of a greater number of pilgrims^ and thereby 
promoting the intercourse and traffic between the plains 
and the immense hiils^ whence springs the source of the 

" In all the capital cities, principal towns, and districts, 
Mahomedan officers, known in this country by the title of 
Cadis^ are stationed for the purpose of performing the reli- 
gious duties and ceremonies prescribed by the Mahomedan 
law, and various other functions, at the public expense ; and 
their appointments are so far independent that they are 
only moveable for misconduct/'+ 

" I cannot see," says C. BuUer, Esq., M. P., in his letter 
to the Honourable Court of Directors relative to Jugger- 
naut, May, 1813, " what possible objection there is to the 
continuance of an established tax, particularly when it is 
taken into consideration what large pensions in land and 
money are allowed by our Government^ in all parts of 
the country, for keeping up the religious institutions both 
of the Hindoos and tlie Mussulmans. '*% 

'• The temple of Deo Ghur is situated on a rising ground, 
in the midst of a thick forest, and is attached to the Beer- 
bhoom district. Thirty-two villages are allotted for the 
maintenance of the chief pundit or high priest of the temple 
at Deo Ghur, granted by Government at the settlement of 
the Jungleterry district. They are in a very flourishing 
state of cultivation."§ 

The conduct of individuals in India, especially when in 
authority, has too frequently tended to perpetuate idolatry. 
The following extracts from the late Bishop Heber's Journal 
appear very exceptionable : — *• During my progress through 
the holy places (at Benares) I had received garlands of 
flowers in considerable numbers, which I was told it was 
uncivil to throw away^ particularly those which were hung 
round my neck. I now in consequence looked more like a 
sacrifice than a priest, and on getting again into the gig 

* Ham. Hind. vol. ii. p. 638. 

t Teignmouth Cons, on Com. to the Nat. of India the knowledge of 
Christ, p. 62. 

% Buchanan's Apology for Christianity in India, p. 162. 

§ Francklin's Enquiry for the site of the Ancient Palibothra, part i. 
p. 88. 

British Humanity. S37 

was glad to rid myself of my ornaments." " This being 
the great day of Hoolee, all my Hindoo servants came to 
pay their compliments and bring presents of red powder 
and sugar plums. The event was rather costly to me, as I 
was obliged to make presents in return. But it is the 
" dustoor," and who in India can transgress that un- 
written and common law of the land ?" " The Raja offered 
to return my visit next day ; but knowing that Tuesday is, 
in the estimation of all Hindoos^ unlucky, I named Wed- 
nesday in preference, telling him my reason^ He answered, 
very politely, he should account every day lucky in which 
he had opportunity of cultivating my acquaintance, but was 
evidently well pleased."* 

'^ The Grand Lama is an hereditary living deity, before 
whom millions prostrate themselves. When Captain Tur- 
ner was on his embassy to this deity, to gratify his votaries, 
he made an offering, he says, to the .deceased Teshoo 
Lama ; and in addressing the same deity, who had entered 
the body of an infant eighteen months old, he said to the 
child : — * The Governor General, on receiving the news of 
his (your) decease in China was overwhelmed with grief 
and sorrow, and continued to lament his (your) absence 
from the world, until the cloud that had overcast the happi- 
ness of this nation was dispelled by his (your) appearance.'f 
Does such language comport with the dignity of the British 
and the Christian character? 

Saugur Island, situated at the mouth of the Hooghly 
River, about 100 miles from Calcutta, is a well known place 
of pilgrimage. Infanticide was abolished here in 1802, 
during the administration of the Marquis Wellesley. The 
Madras Government Gazette, Jan. 13, 1837, contains an 
account of this pilgrimage ; and observes, '* According to 
the pundit an impost is levied by the oflScers of Govern- 
ment stationed here, of four annas per oar, besides a fee of 
one anna to the establishment: but the charge, if we are 
not misinformed, is unsanctioned, except as made, by By- 
ragees and Sunyasees, who assumed the right of levying 
four annas per oar, and eight annas to one or two rupees 
for each shop. This claim has been so far authorised that 
the right to levy any charge was withdrawn from the Saugur 
Society upon the petition of the religious mendicants. The 

\ * Vol. i. p. 297. Vol. ii. pp. 84. 131. 

f Ward's View of the Hindoos, vol. ii. p. 308. 

240 India's Cries io 

Colonel P. related to the Author at Cuttack in 1822, and 
declared he would state it to the Marquis of Hastings on 
his arrival in Calcutta. A Missionary in Orissa, visiting 
Kontiloo (or Cooloo), about 90 miles from Cuttack, refer- 
ring to the pundas, or pilgrim hunters, says — "1 an informed 
there are forty of these missionaries of idolatry in Kon- 
tiloo. Nov. 1826." Another colleague in Orissa writes 
under date ** Ganjam, Aug. 1826, I inquired how the 
pundas knew what to expect (of the pilgrims) ; and he said 
that some of them would come and stay two or three months 
in such a place as Ganjam, by which means they became 
acquainted with different people's circumstances. They 
subsist by bringing maha presaud (holy food), which they 
give to different persons, and get what they can in return. 
Some one says of the bad ones, ' What a curse to Chris- 
tendom are the priests of Christendom :' surely one may 
say, ' What a curse to Orissa, and to a much greater extent 
of country, are the pundas and priests of Juggernaut.'' 


The following statement of the establishment of Jugger- 
naut was extracted from RennelFs MS. account of Orissa.* 

1. ** Maha Rajah Ram Chunder Dev, honorary ser- 
vant to the idol, to make ultkee chowr, sweep the ruts, and 
strew flowers on the idols. His son now officiates. 

2. " Mood Roth, alias Plenipotentiary, in the absence 
of the Maha Rajah performs the above duties. 

3. ** Naik Chattees Neejoy, the head officer of thirty-six 
different orders of minstrel and other officers, who adorns 
the idol, and does all other personal services for it ; and 
has full authority to superintend the attendance and per- 
formance of the duties of all the other officers. 

4. " Pundah performs the ceremonies of the Bhoge 

5. " Pussopaluk adorns the idol. 

6. " Tulchoo, in the absence of the Purchas, accom- 

European Collector's salary 500 rupees per month, and 1^ per cent 
commission on the amount of the tax collected. The allowance to the 
Officers was fixed at 300 rupees per month and 2 per cent [on the net 
collections. Aug. 1809. 

* See Friend of India, April, 1822. Asi. Jour. March, 1823. 

British Humanity. 241 

panies the idol to the tank, and acts for them in the temple 

7. " Bhethurschoo adonis the idol, and keeps watch in 
the time of the Bhoge^ in order to prohibit any superfluous 
quantity of offerings being taken in. 

8. **MahaSoary head cooks. — Brahmuns who in the first 
instance take in the Bhoge. 

9. ** Soar, cooks and scullions. — Brahmuns who take in 
Bhoge after the Maha Soar, 

10. *' Guarra Borro, persons who give water to the 
Poojah Pundas at the time of their performing the cere- 
monies of Bhoge. 

11. "Puthree Borro cleans the brass vessels, and takes 
fiouT, chundun, &c., in them to the Poqfah Pundah. 

12. "Punthee Borro are Brahmuns who put the kitchree 
in silver and golden dishes, and set them before the idol. 
This is Sirkaree Bhoge, or the allowance by Government 1 1 

13. ** Soar Borro is the office of distributing proper 
quantities of Bhoge to such other temples and officers as 
may be directed by the rulers of the temple. 

14. ** Khoonti^ warns the idol and the Rajah of the 
time of festivals. 

15. '* Mecaup, masters of the wardrobe of two different 
descriptions ; viz. Mecaup keeps the jewels, and Changrah 
Mecaup the wearing apparel in one department. 

16. " Dytah removes the idols from the throne and puts 
them on the ruts, and replaces them again. 

17. ** Puttee are Brahmuns. After the Snan Jattra the 
idols are taken into a room allotted for the purpose of taking 
oS the old clothes and swaddlin&p them with new ones, which 
takes fifteen days, during which time the offerings in the 
room are made by these people. 

18. ** Maliajona. This description of officers convey the 
^mailer idols to tanks and other places, and then put them 
in the proper room. 

19. ** Hurrup Naikn After the Bhoge is removed, 
these officers bring pauo or beetle, and hot spices, and set 
the same before the idol, which (says Hneyrdter) Juggernaut 
munches at his ease // 

20. ** Aukund Mecaup. Lamp-lighter. 

21. ** Khaut Sage Mecaup. Bed-maker. 

22. *' Poohoree. Watchmen at the time of Bhoge. 

349 India's Cries to 

23. '* Pooran Pundak reads the Pooran at certain times 
near the idol. 

24. " MookpokhaL A person who attends with a dan- 
toon (used for a tooth brush) and water to wash the idoTs 
fojcs in the morning I 

25. '' Austaun warns the idols of the time of ceremo- 

' 26. ** Fanruk, watchmen of the wardrobe. 

27. '* Chathour, a person who carries a chattaor um- 

28. '* Tauraseean^ a person who carries the tras, afk 
ensign in the form of a half moon. 

29. •* Deoreectn, a torch bearer. 

30. " Dondckuttur, a person who stands by the throne 
with an umbrella at the Ekadusse and other particular fes* 
tiyal days. 

31. '* Kahaleah, a trumpeter. 

32. Ghunioah, a person who sounds the ghunt or bras^ 

33. " Ghutwaree, a person who tubs sandal wood. 
84. " Lenka, Peons (Soldiers). 

35. '* Perdhanee, persons who give the golden rods tQ 
the Purchas. 

96. ^* Dooarees, door keepers. 

37. '* Summuntah grind kuUaee and other kinds of 

38. '* Deh DHusee, dancing girls with a band of Mu- 

A more particular account of this Establishment was pro- 
oured for the Author, writtten on the leaf of a tree, by a 
native of Juggernaut; the following is a free translation of 
of it.* 

1. ** The Moodeerut, as the Rajah of Koorda's repre- 
sentative with Juggernaut, at all the festivals moves about 
the Kglit, p^orms the daily service before him, and makes 
the offering of food. 

2. '* There are three head Pundas, who having poure4 
clarified butter on the sacred fire, and worshipped the sun 
asid the divine regents of the gates, present the sacrificial 
articles firom the kitchen, to the three gods at ibteh of the 
daily offices, until the period of Juggemaut^s retiring to 

* S«e Friend of India, Oct. 1825. 

British Humanity. 94& 

r 3. ** There aie tbreie Pushot^palaSf who perform worriiip 
between the periods of the regular service ; and, ascending 
the throne of Juggernaut^ clothe him in the three diflferent 
dresses appropriated to the three services. 

4. ** The Bheet-baboo guards the sacrificial food before 
it has been offered, prevents the crowd pressing on it, and 
should the smallest blemish be found in it (such as a hair 
or an ant) he seiases and punishes the Pundas. 

5. ** The Tulubu Pureechas guard Juggernaut when he 
retires to rest. In their absence the Pushoo-palas act in 
their stead* 

6. ** The Poiee*muhapatTa, at the twelve periodical fes-^ 
tivals, make the proper offerings, and move about the im^e- 
of Sooda-bttden ; and at the great bathing festival, when 
Ju^pemaot moves out to the Neeladree beej, worship him 
during his progress, and during the fifteen succeeding days 
when h$ is supposed to be ill, not having recovered from 
ihe effects of his bath ! 

7* ** The Patree-iuroo arranges the sacrificial articles, 
and calls the Pundas to worship. 

8. ** The Gora-buroo, at the time of wotship, places the 
water pot and presents the water to the offietating priest. 

9. ** The Khootiya calls the PhashoO'paluks who are 
appointed to wake Juggernaut, and bring forward the 
vestments and necklaces with which he is to be invested. 

10. '^ The Paneeya-meitib presents the ornaments of 
Juggernaut to the Pushoo^aluik, and counts them as they 
come from Juggernaut's body ; and likewise counts out to 
the Pureechas any new ornaments offered by pilgrims. 

. 11. ** The Changro-mehab cimries the vestments of Jng- 
gernauty and counts them out ; and, when new vestments 
are offered by the pilgrims^, he counts them out and puta 
them away. 

12. ** The Bhandar-mebab counts out the ornaments 
when taken off from Juggernaut by the PaneeyormehA. 
The vestments presented by pilgrims pass into their cufr* 
lody after diey nave been worn. 

13. ''The Suwar-buroo sweeps the place, and places 
die sacrificial dishes before Juggernaut, presents odours to 
those who wake him, and distributes the sacrificial flowers 
among the servants mid worshqipers. 

14. '* The Pureeksha-buroo holds up a looking glass to 
juggernaut during w<>rship. 


244 Jndia$ Cries to 

15. '' The Ukhundu-mehabf or lamp-ligfatery places tights 
aad removes the lamps. 

16. " The Pureeyarees watch at the gates and doors. 

17. " The Dab'khat brings out Juggernaut's bed ! 

18. " The Pureeyaree of the southern gate cries out, 
* the sacrificial food is coming.' 

19. ** The Pureeyarees of the gate watch the food ; and, 
when Juggernaut moves out, carry with him the sweet 
smelling wood. 

20. " The Juya and Vijuy(upureeyarees (or porters) 
allow no one to enter while Juggernaut is at his meals ; and 
there are two watchmen at the door of the inner room where 
Juggernaut partakes of his food. 

21. ^' The Khurgu-nayuk, at the close of the daily 
offices, presents the paun to the officiating priests to be 
given to Juggernaut ; and, on the occasion of the last daily 
office, offers it himself. 

22. The Khatsuya mekab carries Juygernaufs bed to 
him at night for him to sleep on ; and carries it back to 
its place in the morning J 

23. " The Mook'pakhul pureeyaree presents the water 
and the tooth-pick to Juggernaut, and inspects into every 
thing respecting the temple. 

24. " The Suwar-Kota prepares the cakes, and deUverft 
them to the Maha-Suwar. 

25. ''The Maha-Suwar brings the first service of cakes. 

26. " The Gopal'bullubha distributes it. 

27. ** The Bhatee-huroo places food of a particular de- 
scription before the idol. 

!^. *' The Rosh-payeed Kghts the lamp in the kitchen, 
and expels the suwars when they become unclean ; he ac-* 
companies the royal offering of food as far as the Juya and 
Vijuya gate. 

29. '' The Beeree-buha-suwar takes the articles of 
paun from the Sumurthas, and delivers them to the Su* 

80. "The Dhoa-pakhaliya Brahmun washes and cleanses 
the kitchen. 

31. ''The Unga-buha Brahmun removes the ashes froiki 
the cook-room, and throws them away. 

32i " The Dita-suwaree carries the image of Jug- 
gernaut wh6n necessary^ and prepares the image. 

33. " The Datya paints the image^ and fastens the flag; 
on his carriage. 

British Humanity. 845 

84. ** The Dwar-nayuk is employed in openiug and 
shatting the door. 

35. ** The Mahajhun carries the image of Jaya and Vi* 
juya, the two heavenly porters. 

36. ''The Beeman^buroo carries the image of Juggernaut 
and fixes it in its place. 

37. '* The Moodolee-hhandur guards the door, puts the 
chamura iuto the hands of distinguished pilgrims who de- 
sire to fan Juggernaut ; and locking, guards the door of 
Juya and Vijuya, the two heavenly porters. 

38. ''The Chootar holds the umbrella over the great 
god when he proceeds on a journey. 

39. " The TurcLsee holds before him the turcLS (a large 
fan) when he goes on a journey. 

40. " The Meg-dunAoora proceeds with the Meg-dum- 
boora when he goes on a journey 

41. "The Moodra holds the lamp when an offering of 
lowers is made to Juggernaut. 

42. "The Paneeya-put delivers the water pots to the 
Buroo, and washes them. 

43. " The Keehuleea^ at all stated festivals, during the 
service and during the offering of flowers, performs worship, 
and plays the Kahulee. 

44. " The Ghuntooa rings the bell during Juggernaut's 
meals, and when he goes on journeys ! 

45. " The Chumputee-tumukreeya, at the time of pu- 
soowa and during journeys, plays the tumuk. 

46. " The head Punda calls all the servitors to their duty, 
gives the golden sceptre to the Pureecha, and gives food 
to the Brahmuns of the Mooktee^mundupa. 

47. "The Ghutuwaree prepares the sandal wood and 
gives it to the meiaps ; and, at one of the festivals, goes 
before the image with the incense. 

48. " The Buree Deega supplies the water for cooking; 
ard removes the remains of food. 

49. "The Sumundha pounds peas of one kind, and 
grinds peas of another kind. 

50. "The Gruhu-meiap cleans the dishes after the prin- 
cipal meal. 

51. " The Yogukuma brings forward the articles of the 
principal meal. 

52. ^' The Tomabutee accompanies the principal evening 
meal with a lamp, and brings the pots and cooking utensils. 

53. "The Chaulbacha cleanses the rice and the peas. 

246 India's Cries to 

54. ** The Elek carries the Ghakru or discos of Vishnoo 
before the Idol when he moves out, and is a general super^ 

55. ** The Patrok, having dismissed the attendants^ 
cleans np the temples, and there retires to rest. 

56 '' The Choonara serves the image of Gnroora (the 
bird god), has charge of the great standard of the temple, 
and lifts the great lamp. 

57. "The Khurga dhoaneeya cleanses the space be* 
tween the western part of the temple and the place called 

58. " The Nagadhya washes Juggernauts linen, and 
hangs it up to dry I 

59. ''The Daree-ganee sings the songs which precede 
the anointing of Jnggemaut with sandal wood. 

60. " The Pooran-punda reads the Pooranas in the gate 
of Jaggeniaut. 

61. **Tbe Beenkar plays the beena, a musical instru* 

62. '' The Tunulobuk dances in the spot called Jngnn- 

63. '^ The Snnkhaoa sounds the shell during the offices 
of worship. 

64. '' The Madolee plays on the madoU a musical in- 
strument, during worship. 

65. "The Tooree-nayuk plays on the iooree or trumpet. 

66. " The Muhasetee washes the linen of Juggernaut. . 

67. " The Paneepaee mahar removes all filth from within 
the enclosure. 

68. " The Hakeemeeshristar-huru^pureecha is the ^eat 
judge of all questions ; he holds the golden cane.'' 

Of the nature and regulations of the establishment at 
Gh/a no correct information appears to be extant, but the 
establishment must be considerable, as Mr* Harington 
observes, " The Gyawalas (pilgrim hunters of Gya) travel 
through all countries where ihe Hindoo religion prevails^ 
in search of pilgrims^ who^ hut forthem^ would probably 
never have msited Gya^' The number of pilgrims^ and 
their attendants, in ordinary years, is not fewer than 100,000 ; 
but, in time of peace, when visited by the great Mahratta 
chieftains, the number exceeds 200,000, with many horses ; 
nor will twenty lacks (two millions) of rupees defray their 
expenses, where many of them reside for three months.* ^ 

♦ Hamilton^ supra, vol. i. p. 26<5, 277. 

SritUh Uuma^ty. Mf 

Of the establishment at the temple of Tripetty, near 
Madras, it has been remarked, '* crowds of pilgrims resort 
to it from all parts of India, who pour into it offerings of 
goods, grain, gold, silver, jewels, &c., the aggregate of 
which, when converted into money, not only yields a sur- 
plus revenue to Government, but serves to maintain several 
thousand persons performing the offices of an idolatrous 
worshipf which is here conducted unth extra^yrdinary 

At Allahabad the number of priests supported by the 
pilgrims must be considerable. Much hostility was mani- 
fested in 1815 to the introduction of a more efficient police^ 
*^ The class denominated Pragioals, who perform the reli- 
gious ceremonies at the junction of the great rivers, to the 
number of 4 or 6000, showed a determination to resist, 
threatened to cease to officiate, and withdraw altogether, 
which would have caused a loss to Government of the piU 
grim revenue. Many other conspiracies to arrest the pro- 
gress of the arrangements took place ; but, by patience and 
lirmpess, they were ultimately dissipated and suppressed. 
The number of pilgrims in 1812 and 1813 was greater thaa 
had occurred for twenty-eight years, being 218,792. 

Amount of collections , • . 223,563 

Repaid to the account of Dowlet Row Scindia 175 

Charges of establishment 3,407 

Fines on persons attempting to bathe without > ^ qq^ 

licenses .> ' 


Net receipte , . . £27,638 

" The tax accruing to Government is three rupees* for 

''' This is a considerable sum to people who have to labour a month 
to obtain it. Hamilton, speaking of Bengal, says, ''Notwithstanding 
the low price of the necessaries of life, the common labourers find it ex- 
tremely difficult to subsist on their scanty earnings, which, iu some 
places, are not more than from a penny to twopence a day.*' Vol. i. 
p. 100. This confirms the statement that a rupee to a poor Hindbo is 

241ft India s Crks iQ 

each person, but a mach greater expense is incurred in cha- 
rity, and g^ts to the Brahmnns/'* 

The author of an interesting Yolume, entitled '^ Sketches 
of India/' speaking of Allahabad, makes the following re* 
ference to the system of the Pilgrim Tax :— '• On the smaU 
point of land at which the rivers the Ganges and Jumna 
join their waters sit numbers of Brahmuns, known by their 
distinguished flags, who receive the sums each pilgrim must 
pay for performing his ablutions, seal them, sell amulets^ 
certificates, and Ganges water, to be conveyed many miles 
distant. A Sepoy sentinel, near the spot, boasted of the 
privilege he enjoyed, as being in the Honourable Company's 
service, he was exempted from the usual fine, paying a 
smaller sum for permusum to dip his body in the sanctify-^ 
ing stream at this place I To prop superstitition, and 
countenance fraud, is surely a policy at once timid and im* 
pious : to benefit by the credulity of the poor plundered 
Idolater is a financial arrangement very little to our ho-, 
nour ; and, perhaps, as little to our interest.*' The Consti- 
tutional Guardian remarics, '' This account, that of Jug- 
Caut, and the conduct of General Brownrigg, when 
hu was re-established in Ceylon, are parallel cases, 
that call for enquiry at the India House ; and we may be 
sure tb?y will redress such anomalies when they have time 
to investi^te them.'' 

equal to a pound iiote to a poor labourer in England. << It m^y show 
the poverty of the country," says Bishop Heber, " and the cheapness of 
the aiiferent articles, to observe, that having bought all the commodities 
which he wanted for a few pice, he was unable in the whole market to 
get change for a rupee.'' Journ., vol. i. p. 14. A missiouaryin Orissi^ 
speaking of a countiy excursion (April 182?), observes, "Here at twenty 
or thirty miles from,] Juggernaut, there is little money circulating; and 
what there is is almost sdl cowries (shells), of which sixty make a far- 
thing. A Utile rice comes into the market, but bartering is so common 
that an offer of cowries is rejected.'' The Pilgrim Tax is doubtless fre^ 
^uently very oppressive. 

♦ Ham. Ilina,', vol. i. p. 299—301^ 

British Humanity. 349 

CHAP. Ill, 

The Miseries resulting from this System^ and its general 

** Ax the two annual fairs (held at Hordwar, distant 
1050 miles from Calcutta, a place of great celebrity for its' 
numerous pilgrims), it is supposed, from 2 to 300,000 peo- 
ple are collected; once in twelve years, when particular 
religious ceremonies are observed, the number is computed 
to be almost a million : and in April, 1809, they were es- 
timated at two millions. Owing to the precautions taken 
by the British Government, the fairs have lately ended at 
Hnrdwar without bloodshed, to the astonishment of the 
vast multitude, who were before accustomed to associate 
the idea of bloodshed and murder with that of the fair. 
Those who come merely for bathing arrive in the morning, 
and, after performing their ablutions, depart in the evening, 
or on the following day. During the temporary Mahratta 
sway, a kind of poll tax and duties on cattle were levied ; 
but all is now free without impost and molestation^ which 
considerably detracts from the merit of the pilgrimaged* 

Of the new road from Calcutta to Juggernaut, Hamilton 
remarks, ** This road was begun in 1813, and is still going 
on ; but with respect to the |}ilgrims, the merit of their 
peregrination being in proportion to the hardships they 
sustain^ every arrangement tending to render the holy 
pUice more accessible^ and their immediate sufferings lessj 
in the same proportion diminishes the merits of the pil- 
grimage, and nullifies the contemplated eapiation.*^f It 
is evident that the Pilgrim Tax enhances the supposed value 
of pilgrimages, and hence the celebrity of those places of 
idolatrous resort at which it is levied. But the poverty, 
exposure, sickness, mortality, and brutal treatment of the 
dead, consequent upon vast assemblies of pilgrims, demon- 
strate the pernicious tendency of a system which regulates, 
supports, and aggrandizes idolatry. From the united testi- 
mony of several eye witnesses, the miseries of pilgrimage 
(particularly to Juggernaut's temple in Orissa) are evi- 

» Ham. Hind. vol. i. p. 451. f VoL ii. p. 54. 

9S0 India's Cries U 

A. Stirling, Esq., in his ** Account of Orissa/^ describes 
the great car festival of Juggernaut, and adverts to the 
miseries of the pilgrims:— ** On the appointed day, after 
various ceremonies are performed within the temple, the 
images are brought from their throne to the outside of the 
Lion-gate, not with reverence, seated on a litter or vehicle 
adapted to such an occasion ; but, a common cord being 
fastened round their necks, certain priests, to whom the 
duty appertains, drag them down the steps, and through the 
mud, while others keep their figures erect, and help their 
movements by shoving them from behind, in the most un- 
ceremonious manner, as if they thought the whole business 
a good joke ! In this way the monstrous idols go rocking 
and pitching along through the crowd, until they reach the 
cars, which they are made to ascend by a similar process 
up an inclined platform. On the other hand, a powerful 
sentiment of religious enthusiasm pervades the admiring 
multitude of pilgrims assembled without, when the images 
first make their appearance through the gate. They wel- 
come them with shouts and cries of Jye Juggernaut ! viC'^ 
tory to Juggernaut! and when the monster Juggernaut, 
the most hideous of all the figures, is dragged forth, the 
last in order, the air is rent with acclamations. The cele-» 
brated Idols are nothing more than wooden busts, about 
six feet in height, fashioned into a rude resemblance of 
the human head, resting on a sort of pedestal. They are 
painted white, yellow, and black, respectively, with fright- 
fully grim and distorted countenances, and are decorated 
with a head dress of different coloured cloths, shaped 
something like a helmet. The two brothers have arms pro«> 
jecting horizontally forward from the cars. The sister is 
entirely devoid of even that approximation to the human 
form. The ruths or cars* have an imposing air from their 
size and loftiness, but every part of the ornament is of the 
most paltry description, save only the covering of striped and 
spangled broad clothe furnished from the Export Ware-* 
house of the British Government^ the splendour of which 

* *' The car of Juggernaut measures 43 J feet high ; it has sixteen 
Wheels, of 6} feet diameter, and a* platform 34^ feet square. The 
Rut of Bulbudra is about 41 feet higli, and hai 14 wheels, and that d 
Subudra his sister is 40 feet high, 14 wheels, and 6^ feet diameter." Tht 
wood is annually provided by Sie Duspulla Esyah, but in 19Q6 he re- 
fused to send it ^rther than Cuttack. Par. Papers, 1813, pp. 35, 64. 

Britith' Humanity* 251 

canpen^ates, in a great meastire, far other deficiencies of 
decoration /* After the images have been lodged in their 
vehicles, a box is brought forth, containing the golden or 
gilded feet, hands, and ears of the great idol, which are 
fixed on the proper parts with due ceremony, and a scarlet 
scarf is carefully arranged round the lower part of the 
body, or pedestsu. The joy and shouts of the orowd on the 
first movemeot of the care, the creaking sound of the 
wheeki as these pondrous machines roll along, the clatter of 
hundreds of harsh sounding instruments, and the general 
appearance of so immense a moving mass of human beings, 
produce, it must be acknowledged, an impressive, astounding, 
and somewhat picturesque efiTect, while the novelty of the 
scene lasts; though the contemplationcannot fail of exciting 
the strongest sensations of pain and disgust in the mind 
of every Christian spectator. In an unfavourable season, 
or when the festival occurs late, the proportion of deaths oc- 
casioned by exposure is very melancholy, "f 

Dr. Buchanan's visit to Juggernaut's temple, in June, 
1806, . is well known ; a short extract or two from his 
" Christian Researches" may suflSce : — *' Numbers of pil- 
grims die on the road, and their bodies generally remain 
unburied. On a plain by the river near the pilgrim's Cara- 
vansera, at this place, Budruck (100 miles from Jugger- 
naut), there are more than a hundred skulls; the dogs, 
jackals, and vultures, seem to live here on human prey. 
Wherever I turn my eyes, I meet death in some shape or 
other. — From the place where I now stand I have a view 
of a host of people like an army, encamped at the outer 
gate of the town of Juggernaut, where a guard of soldiers 
is posted to prevent their entering the totvn. until they 
have paid the tax.—k. pilgrim announced that he was 
ready to offer himself a sacrifice to the idol. He laid him- 
self down in the road before the car as it was moving along, 
on his face, with his arms stretched forward. The multi- 
tude passed round him, leaving the space clear, and he was 
crashed to death by the wheels. How much I wish that the 
Proprietors of India Stock could have attended the wheels 

* " The other evening a cart load of gay coloured English woollen^ 
passed me from the Company's Warehouse, to adorn the idols' cars. 
Alas ! that the same country should, in so shocking a sense, send out 
both blessing and cursing. June 23, 1827." — Ext. Miss. Jour. 

t Asi. Res. Vol. xv. pp. 321—325. 

S63 India' t Cries to 

of Joggernatit, and seen this peculiar source of their re*- 
venue! I beheld a distressing scene this morning in the 
place of skulls ; a poor woman lying dead, or nearly so, 
and her two children by her, looking at the dogs and yuU 
tures which were near. The people passed by without 
noticing the children! I asked them where was their 
home? They said they had no home but where their 
mother was. O there is no pity at Juggernaut! Those 
who support his kingdom err. I trust, from ignorance. 
They know not what they do." 

Colonel Phipps, who witnessed the Car Festival in 1823, 
thus describes the miseries occasioned by it : — " The loss 
of life, by this deplorable superstition, probably exceeds that 
of any other. The aged, the weak, the sick, are persuaded 
to attempt this pilgrimage, as a remedy for all evils. The 
number of women and children, also, is very great. The 
pilgrims leave their families and occupations, to travel an 
immense distance, with the delusive hope of obtaining 
eternal bliss. ' Their means of subsistence on the road are 
scanty ; and their light clothing and little bodily strength 
are ill calculated to encounter the inclemency of the weather. 
When they reach the district of Cuttack, they cease to ex- 
perience that hospitality shown elsewhere to pilgrims ; it is 
a burden which the inhabitants could not sustain : and they 
prefer availing themselves of the increased demand of 
provisions to augment the price ! This difficulty is more 
severely felt as they approach the temple ; till they find 
scarcely enough left to pay the tax to Government, and to 
satisfy the rapacious Brahmuns. The pilgrim, on leaving 
Juggernaut, has still a long journey before him ; and his 
means of support are often almost, if not quite exhausted.^ 
The work of death then becomes rapid ; and the route of 
the pilgrims may be traced, by the bones left by jackals 
and vultures. The country near the temple seems suddenly 
to have been visited by pestilence and famine. Dead 
bodies are seen in every direction. Parriar dogs, jackals, 
and vultures, are observed watching the last moments 
of the dying pilgrim, and not unfrequently hastening his 

The late Rev. W. Ward has made a calculation of the 
number that are supposed to perish annually, the victims of 
superstition. He estimates that 4,000 pilgrimi; perish every 

* Mi». Resigter, 1824, p, 578. 

British Humanity. 39$ 

Jrear, on the roads to, and at holy places, and a Gentleman 
whose opinion is of great weight, says, " I believe this es- 
timate is far below the truth." ** By fevers, by the dysentery, 
and other diseases, arising from exposure to the night air 
and the privations of a long journey, crowds are carried off 
in a few days. Sacred places, the resort of pilgrims, are 
spread all over Hindostan, and pilgrims travel to them from 
distances requiring journeys of three, four, and five months." 
An officer writing to his friends about the pilgrims at the 
gate of Pooree, detained for a time to make them pay the 
tax, says, — " I let above 100 out of limbo at Jugger- 
naut: there were 1000 dead and dying: — all in limbo 
starvingto extort money from them."* 

The Kev. W. Bampton, Missionary at Juggernaut, in an 
account of the Car Festival of 1823, writes: — "July 11th. 
In front of one of the cars lay the mangled body of a dead 
man, one arm and one leg were eaten, and two dogs were 
then eating him : many people were near, both moving and 
stationary, but they did not seem to take any notice of the 
circumstance ! I went to see the state of the pilgrims, who, 
either because they could not, or would not pay the tax, were 
kept without one of the gates. In the course of the morning 
I saw within a mile of Uie gate about six dead : the dogs 
and birds were eating three of them. Five or six lay dead 
within a mile of the gate ; and it is generally admitted that 
there was not a tenth, perhaps scarcely a twentieth, of the 
pilgrims this year who attend sometimes ; and, if there be 
the same proportion of dead and sick at all times, fifty or 
sixty dead might some years be seen, within a mile of this 
gate, and eighty or a hundred sick. A specimen of what 
is sometimes seen was given me by a military officer, who 
pointed out a piece of ground, perhaps scarcely an acre, on 
which he last year counted at one time twenty-five dead 

The Kev. C. Lacey, the author^s colleague at Cuttack, 
thus describes the car festival in June 1825 : — " The mor- 
tality did not much appear before the 16th ; on the 19th it 
was exceedingly bad, for the day before the rain began to 
fall, and more came on the 19th and 20th ; and for the next 
three days it fell in torrents. At this time the scene had 
reached its height, and was truly shocking on every hand. 
In every street, corner, and open space, — in fact wherever 

* Ward's View of the Hindoos. Vol. ii. pp. 126, 318. 

t(84 Induis CrU$ to 

Ton tamed your eyes, the dead and dyii^ met yotir sight \ 
On the evening of die 19th, I counted upwards of sixty 
dead and dyings from the temple down to the bottom end 
of the hospital (about half a mile), leaving out the sick, 
that had not much life* At a comer opposite the hospital, 
on a spot of ground twelve feet square, 1 counted ten dead 
and five sick! This was the case, while there were several 
sets of men in active employ burying the dead ! You will 
perhaps think, if the streets were thus crowded, what must 
be the various Golgothas ! I visited but one, and that was 
between the town and the principal entrance, and I saw 
sights I shall never forget. The small river there was quite 
glutted with the dead bodies. The wind had drifted tbe» 
alt(^ether, £md they were a complete mass of putrifying 
flesh ! ! They also lay upon the ground in heaps, and the 
dogs and birds were able to do bat little towards devouring 
them." ** Pages,'' says Mrs. L., ** would not be sufficient 
to detail the miseries of the deluded worshippers of Jug- 
gernaut The poor pilgrims were to be seen in every di<* 
rection dead, and in the agonies of death ; lying by fives, 
tens, and twenties. Mr. L. Counted upwards of 90 in one 
place, and in another Mr. Bampton counted 140. In the 
hospital I believe I have seen thirty dead at once, and 
numbers in the agonies of death, and even the living using 
the dead bodies for pillows /'' 

The Author, then residing at Cuttack, addressed a letter 
to the late J. H. Harington, Esq., Calcutta, relative to the 
miseries of the pilgrims, and the dreadful effects of the 
Pilgrim Tax, in taking the money which would procure 
them food, raiment^ and medicine, and thus prevent pre* 
mature death. Directions were immediately forwarded to 
Pooree, and some relief afforded to the pilgrims. About 
400 rapees were sent to the Missionaries, and two of them 
undertook a journey from Pooree to Cuttack (a distance of 
fihy miles), to relieve the people. A few extracts from the 
journal of this work of mercy are of a very affecting nature. 
— " June 26, 1825. We left Pooree about five o'clock in 
the morning, with a few cloths, and a good quantity of me- 
dicine and money. We had brandy to prevent the effects 
of the effluvia from the dead bodies. For four miles from 
the gate, the dead were very numerous. O what a waste 
of human life was here ! Some on the road among the 
mud, and some scarcely distinguishable from it : some 
under sheds into ^hich they had crept from the rain ; but 

Britkk Humauiiy. d55 

mostly thrown iMo the narrow ehamiel or grip on each side 
of the road. Here I saw them lie together by foar, five, 
six, seven, eight, nine, ten, twelve, or more ! I tried to 
keep account, but could not without detaining the palque 
bearers. Some of the bodies were carried beyond the grip 
into the fields and there lay, watched by the dogs and vul- 
tures. A great majority of the sick whom I relieved, on our 
first stage, were females^ deserted by their friends, who bad 
left them not a pice (a halfpenny), and almost destitute of 

Of the number that perished it is impossible to form a 
correct idea. An eye witness of the scene writes, " The 
money received at the gate this year far exceeded that of 
others, being 360,000 rupees (£82,500). The number of 
pilgrims is estimated at 225,000. Captain F — estimates 
those who died at Cuttack and Pooree, and between the 
two stations, at 5000 ; but Mr. L — thinks this rather too 
bi^ an estimate.** How many of these miserable people 
must have died before Ihey could reach their homes ! — many 
of them coming 8, 6, or 900 miles. Mr. M — , the European 
Collector of the Tax at Pooree, estimated the mortality at 

As the Author resided at Cuttack for nearly three years 
and a 'half, and has been at Juggernaut at the great 
festival in 1824 and 1825, he may be allowed to add his 
humble testimony to the above evidence of the misery of 
pilgrimage. — I have seen three persons measuring their 
way to the temple by constant prostration. At Cuttack 
and Pooree I have seen numbers of the dying and dead 
pilgrims; and one morning, near the temple, I counted 
between twenty and thirty skulls in one place. In the last 
stage to Pooree, in June, 1825, I counted thirty-seven 
bodies or skeletons. A few hundred yards from my re- 
sidence at Cuttack (near the ford to Juggernaut), at the 
time of the great festival, the effluvia from the dead bodies 
has been very noisome, nor is there any allowance from the 
magistrate at Cuttack to inter the dead. Where the Suttee 
has slain its thousands, pilgrimage has slain its tens of 
thousands! The European who has visited Juggernaut at 
the great festival may be forcibly reminded of the appalling 
description : — 

" ■ He saw the lean dogs 

Gorging and growling o'er carcase and limb, 
They were too busy to bark at him. 

* See Report of the General Baptist Missionary Society for 1826. 


India's Cries ia 

Prom a pilgrim's skull they had stript the flesh 

As ve peel the 6g when the fruit is fresh ; 

And their white trunks crunsh'd o*er their whiter skull. 

As it slipt through their jaws when their edge grew dull ; 

As they lazily mumhled the bones of the dead 

When they scarce could stir from the place where they fed ; 

So well had they broken a lingering fast 

With those who had fallen for that repast." 

Some of the pilgrims to Juggernaut bring the water of 
the Ganges to pour over the idol Lokeuaut ; these are 
exempt from tax. The author while residing in Orissa 
has frequently seen these devotees. The devout go on 
pilgrimage from distant countries ; but, to render this act 
meritorious^ the pilgrims must previously visit the banks of 
the Ganges, lie on the ground and fast during the joumey» 
and arrive laden with water to bathe the idol. To prove 
that the water was really brought from the Ganges, the 
bearers take the precaution to obtain a certificate to that 
effect from the officer of the place, who seals the vessel into 
which it is put with his seal. It is probable that this is 
done in all cases where the water is taken for idolatrous 

Eurposes. The engraving represents the mode in which 
oth men and women carry the waters of the Ganges to 
a distance of several hundred miles. 


British Humanity. 357 

Of the Car Festival at Juggernaut, in July, 1836, Mr. 
Lacey writes, — " The festival took place late this year (July 
9th), and was not nnmerously attended. A respectable 
man threw himself off from the front of the car, as it was 
moving forward, and the enormous wheels passed just over 
his loins, and nearly separated his upper from his lower 
pcurts ! The blood and bowels were scattered and drawn 
about by the wheels passing over him !* There was very 
little mortality among the pilgrims this year; for, the num- 
bers being so small, they were able to obtain food and 

The Rev. A. Sutton of Balasore in Orissa, in an account 
of the great festival in 1827, remarks upon the oppressive 
and impure character of this idolatrous exhibition. — *' The 
people at the outer gate of the town were admitted ; they 
had been collecting for a long time, and were not allowed to 
enter because they would not or could not pay the tax. It 
was grievous to see the poor people (many of whom came 
from distant parts of India) with their little all tied up in a 
bundle, and suspended under their umbrellas, in some un-^ 
guarded moment, rushed upon by the Pooree tigers, and 
their all taken from them. These villains of Ji)ggemaut lie 
in wait, and when they see an old or disabled pilgrim, rush 
upon him, give him a blow upon the head with a lai^e stick, 
and snatch the umbrella with the bundle out of his hand ! I 
saw, perb3,ps,^fty cases of this kind while I stood J — ^The 
idols have been replaced on the cars to return. I cannot 
refrain from noticii^ the obscene gestures and lascivious 
songs which were again employed to animate the draggers, 
and spread an infernal enthusiasm through the gazing as- 
sembly. I asked a person near^ what kind of worship that 
was, he replied, 'Kmbeeka baf (the language of prosti- 
tutes) ; but added, ^ it gave Juggernaut pleasure I * The 
following day a poor wretch threw himself under Jugger- 
naut's car, and was crashed to death. Mr. B saw 

the horrid sight.'' The worship of Juggernaut is still the 

* In 1828 *' twelve persons had bound themselves to die a sacrifice 
under the wheels of the cars, but the under magistrate hearing of the cir- 
cumstance placed them in confinement, and thus prevented the horrid 
deed. This was done at Pooree, at one of the largest festivals in Hin- 
dostan, and done on personal responsibility ; and yet a poor woman, in 
circumstances of much less notoriety, is allowed to bum herself under 
pretence that we must not interfere with the superstitions of the Hin- 
doos." (Cuttack, July, 1828.) 


3fi8 India's Cries to 

same. C. BuBer, Esq., M. P., in 1813, endeavoured to 
palliate the sanguinary and impure worship of this idot»^ but 
in vain. — " If you would know the character of the nation, 
look at the temple." When shall Britain cease to promote 
idolatry? — ^When shall Christianity abolish the miseries of 
heathenism ? 

The late Rev. J. M. Cropper, Missionary in Orissa, 
writes in Feb. 1828, ** While we continued here (Pertub- 
pore, near Midnapore), a number of jattrees passed us. On 
inquiry we found they had come from Nepaul, in a body ot 
500. They calculated that 200 would die by the way: 
about forty had died already ! If this be the case in the 
cold season (the most healthy time in India), what havook 
must death make among the pilgrims, on their return from 
the Rut Jattra in the commencement of the rains ? " 

Of the effects of pilgrimage, in another part of India, 
Hamilton gives the following statement : — " The number 
of crimes that originate in the Behar District, of which 
Gfa is tfie capital^ may in a great measure he attributed 
to the vast crowd of pious and stsperstitiaus pilgrims. The 
wealth these persons possess generally consists of money, 
jewels, and other articles, which excites the cupidity of the 
unprincipled ; while the defenceless condition of the greater 
part of these stragglers exhibits it to them as a prey of easy 
acquisition. Nnmerous affrays and breaches of the peace 
may also be expected where such a number of strangers, 
from all parts of Hindostan, are promiscuously congregated ; 
nor will these votaries of superstition gain any addition to 
their prior stock of morals, by their intercourse with their 
spiritual guides at the sanctuary, who are in general both ig^ 
norant and dissolute, and do not affect even the appearance 
of any self denial or ascetism of conduct "f 

Th£ general character of the Pilgrim Tax System cfe- 
mands serious attention. It increases the celebrity of 
places of idolatrous resort. The tax on pilgrims at Jugger- 
naut, while it encourages the emissaries of idolatry to 
wander to the distant parts of Hindostan, to collect its de- 
luded votaries (a stipulated sum being received by them for 
each individual passed into the town), by its sanction of 
idolatry, not only adds to the celebrity of the pilgrimage^ 
but confounds Christianity with Idolatry, in the sight of die 

• S«e Buchanan's Apology for Christianity in India, pp. 33 — 38. 
t Hamilton's Hindostan^ vol. i. pp. 267 — 301. 

BriHsh Humanity. 269 

Hindoos. A native inquired, of a Missionary in Orissa, 
** If Juggernaut be nothing, why does the Company take 
so much money from those who come to see him !'' " This 
tax,'* says Mr. Harington. in his ** Analysis/' referring to 
the sentiments of the Honourable Court of Directors, *' is 
not to be considered a source of public revenue, but to be 
appropriated to t?ie repairs and other expenses connected 
with the place of pilgrimage^ and convenience of the pil- 
grims" While the temples in general in India (as the 
Black Pagoda, Bobuneswer, Kalee Ghaut near Calcutta, 
&c., &C.,) bear evident marks of neglect and decay, the 
temple of Juggernaut has recently been repaired (it is said 
at the expense of a Bengalee) ; and its celebrity is very 
great. Of the numerous adjacent temples of Bobuneswer, 
(about twenty miles from Cuttack) Mr. Stirling, in his '^Ac- 
count of Orissa," remarks, ''We have no particular account 
of the period and causes of the decline of the City of Bo- 
buneswer and the worship of Maha Dab (Seeb). Nearly all 
hut the great temple have been completely deserted^ and 
the estahlishment kept up tliere is on a very small and in- 
adequate scale f under the patronage of the Koordah Rajah, 
whose ancestors granted all the lands and endowments by 
which the Brahmuns now exist." 

Of the conduct of the pilgrim hunters in extolling Jug- 
gernaut and promoting his worship, ** The Friend of India" 
very forcibly observes, " We have a body of idol missiona^ 
riesfar exceeding in number all the Christian Missionaries, 
perhaps, throughout the world, going forth from year to 
year to propagate delusion, and proclaim for the sake of 
gain (what perhaps not one among them believes), the 
franscendant efficacy of beholding — a log of wood ; and all 
these through a perversion of British humanity, regularity ^ 
and goodfaithy paid from year to year by the officers of a 
Chritian and a British Government/ 

^' But that which most fills the mind with distress is the 
use which these ministers of deception make of the British 
name throughout the country. In proclaiming the great- 
ness of Juggernaut, they of course affirm that he has now 

* " The expense for the repair of the temple was formerly defrayed 
by an Abwaub. It appears not to be fixed in its amount^ nor can I 
learn what the gross amount of the collection was; in future such 
Repairs as are necessary must be made at the expense of Government, the 
Abwatib being consolidated as the land revenue/' Dec. 1807. Par. 
Papers, respecting the Temple of Juggernaut, 1813, p. 66. 

s 2 

260 Indians Cries to 

so fully convinced bis conquerors of his divinity, that they 
have taken his temple under their own superintendence ; 
and that, to provide him with an attendance worthy of his 
dignity, they expend thereon nearly 60,000 rupees from 
year to year, inspecting with care every department, and 
punishing any negligence in the service of the god. That, 
although the British so far surpass the Hindoos in know- 
ledge, they are so fully convinced of Juggernaut's deity 
that they command a portion of food to be set before him! 
That they in reality worship him ; and although, from their 
being mleechaSy or unclean, the god cannot permit their 
near approach within his temple, yet that at his festivals 
they testify their veneration by sending the finest English 
woollens from tbeir own stores in Calcutta to adorn his car. 
That they appoint oflScers to see that due order is observed 
in his worship ; and that some great man, the representa- 
tive of the Governor General, frequently attends to grace 
the solemnity with his presence. That, as they need 
money, convinced of the transcendent benefits to be ob- 
tained from beholding him, they levy a small tax on those 
who behold Juggernaut ; which, however, on the richest, 
does not exceed ten rupees, while they permit the poorest 
to behold him gratis. That they themselves are paid and 
sent forth by them to persuade all who ivish for the full 
remission of sins to come and behold the god in all his 

*' Although the whole of this is in reality a tissue of 
falsehood, yet when these victims to delusion come to Jug- 

feruaut^s temple and see his car adorned with the finest 
English woollens, the officers of Government in attendance to 
keep order, and perhaps some English gentleman present, 
whom they in a moment transform into the Representative 
of the Governor General of India, they give credit to all 
the rest. Those who live to return home propagate this 
among their neighbours ; and thus the tax on the idol adds 
strength to the delusion^ and increases from year to year 
those scenes of death at which human nature shudders. 
That the British should be thus represented as in reality 
worshippers of this log, and as employing their superior 
knowledge in securing order in the service of its temple, 
and adding dignity and splendour to its public festivals, is 
sufficiently degrading : but that they should also be repre- 
sented as employing a band of deceivers to beguile the 
ignorant and unwary — ^in so many instances to death ! and 

British Humanity. 261 

persQade them to undertake this pilgrimage, that they may in 
reality enrich themselves by the tax Aey levy, before they 
permit the Hindoo to behold his idol, is sinking the British 
name to the lowest pitch of degradation. 

** All this is proclaimed by the multitudes of agents who 
go forth from year to year to search for pilgrims. It is 
their interest to omit nothing, whether true or false, which 
tends to exalt Juggernaut and draw pilgrims to his temple. 
And even their being thus employed, with the express view 
of inviting all who are capable to undertake this pilgrimage, 
would serve as evidence in confirmation of all they advanced. 
Thus a regularity y a splendour, an attraction, are given to 
the worship of this idol, and an impetus to the delusion it 
originates, which if never possessed under the former dy- 
nasty; an impetus, too, which, fatal as it is in its conse- 
quences to so many of our Hindoo fellow-subjects, is in- 
creasing with the gain it produces, which knows no bounds 
but the number of persons they are able to deceive from 
year to year : and these have no bounds but the inhabitants of 
Hindostan itself."* Fr. of India. Oct. 1825. pp. 274— 280. 

Another feature of this system is, it promotes the in-- 
crease of pilgrim hunters and pilgrims, " This tax, if 
originating in motives of humanity, has completely defeated 
its own end. While it has added that splendour and attrac- 
tion to the worship of this idol which it never possessed be- 
fore, it has created the means of urging persons in all parts 
of India to undertake this journey of death, which never pre- 
viously existed in sudi regularity and extent. If this premium 
existed under the Mussulman Government, its payment was 
subjected to all the oppression which characterised that 
dynasty, as well as to all the evasions which are the natural 
offspring of idolatry. The British Government bring to all 
their proceedings with the natives virtues the offspring of 
Christianity; hence, on their faithfulness in paying this 
sum, the idol pilgrim hunter relies as safely as the peasant 

* Tlie author of a pamphlet published in Calcutta, on " The state of 
Protestant Missions in Bengal/' speaking of Juggernaut and Hurdwar 
(at which latter place he supposes a tax is levied on the pilgrims), says, 
** The tax imposed by Government has been alleged to have the effect 
of leading the natives to suppose that the idolatrous festivals, held at 
these places, receive the public sanction of the supreme authority. To the 
extent to which this and similar laws are enforced, it would seem to give 
the weight and authority of a political establishment to the popular idolatry," 

963 India's Cries to 

who briogp any article of sale to their factories. If he caa 
search out a thousand persons, and persuade them to under- 
take thi9 journey, he is as certain of receiving 300 rupees 
even if they be of the lowest class, 1,500 rupees if they be 
nim lalU, and 3,000 rupees if be can persuade them to en- 
ter themselves as lall jattrees, or pilgrims of the highest 
class, as though he delivered bales of cloth to that amount. 

** This sum, paid with British fidelity to those who search 
out pilgprims, funiishes a fund so sure and so considerable 
that it would be no wonder if a number of agents were 
thereby stirred up to action, sufficient to traverse the whole 
of India, alluring those to undertake this pilgrimage of 
death who would otherwise never have undertaken it.* 

Of the increase ofpilarims at Gya, Mr. Harington can- 
didly acknowledges the lact, and re^rs it to the regulations 
of the Pilgrim Tax: — " He (Mr. Law) had the satisf auction 
of seeing that his efforts were not unsuccessful ; while great 
and progressive increase in the amount of the sayer collec- 
tions^ under the circumstance of diminished rates, evinces 
the souqd, and (with regard to the pilgrims) the attractive 
policy of the measure he adopted." A clergyman at Gya 
writes, — '* I saw at Gya many poor creatures who ha4 
travelled 1000 miles, and who in their journey endured 
great privations. The well-meant intentions of Govern- 
ment have totally failed ; for, instead of the tax having di- 
minished the number of pilgrims, it 1ms greatly increased; 
the multitude f rendered the Brahminical order respectabley 
and placed idolatry on a Jimier basis than it ever was 
he/ore ! The annual amount of revenue collected at Gya 
is only 250,000 rupees (£31,250 sterling); apparently a 
large sum, but nothing in comparison witi^ what the Brah- 
muns receive from the pilgrims. As soon as Government 
know the inutility of their interference in these things, no 
doubt they will leave the system to stand or fall unsupported 
by authority. When that authority is withdrawn, we may 
venture to predict that in this place, as well as in other 
parts of the globe, idolatry will fall like Dagon before the 
arkofthe Lord."t 

"The introduction of the Brstish Police System so 
much confirmed the security of the pilgrims that the num- 

* Friend of India, No. xiii. pp. 271—273. 
t Miss. Reg. Nov. 1827, pp. 548—559. 

Briiuh Humanity. 

her of these wanderers has been gradually increasing^ as 
will appear from the following statement of the number 
who reeeived licenses to worship at Gja from the 1st of 
May to the 30th of April, in the successive years, yiz. — 

































Amount of Collections of Tax on Pilgrims. 









From these remarks, and especi^ly from these official do- 
cuments, it appears evident that the Pilgrim Tax gives 
popularity to places of idolatrous resort, and induces mul- 
titudes to wander all over India to promote pilgrimages to 
them; unconcerned what misery they entail upon their 

A third feature in this system is, it occasions the death 
of many pilgrims^ who die through want of what the 
Tax takes from them. That hundreds die of want and 
disease in pilgrimage is evident. The sum which a poor 
pilgrim pays for admission to perform the ceremonies ap- 
pointed at a holy place might be the means of saving his 
life on his journey home ; but, as is frec^uently the case, 
having expended all, or nearly all, when he sets his face 
homeward, he soon finds the supply of the humane scanty ; 
want is followed by disease, disease by the desertion of his 
companions, and death soon lays him by the road side, 

* Hamilton's Hindostan, vol. i.p. 266. 

264 India's Crieg to 

uoshrouded and uncofBiied, to be the prey of birds and 
beasts. *^ Much r^inreach against tbe English is expressed 
by the Hindoos on account of the oppressive natnre of the 
tax. Mr. Lacey, one of the Missionaries who went to re- 
lieve the destitute on the road to Cuttack, relates the fol- 
lowing incident : — * You would have felt your heart moved 
to hear the natives say, * Your preaching is a lie ; for, if 
your Saviour and your religion are thus merciful^ how do 
you then take away the money of the poor^ and suffer 
them to starve ?' It is indeed no wonder that, when tbe 
natives see a poor creature dying for want, they should re- 
flect that the two rupees he paid as a tax would have kept 
him alive ; nor indeed is it a pleasing reflection to a Euro- 
pean mind that these two rupees form precisely the differ- 
ence between life and death, to many who have perished 
for want on their road home^''^ 

From the whole, it appears that the Pilgrim Tax and 
Premium System are inhuman, impolitic, and unchristian. 
The inhumanity which characterizes these pilgrimages is 
evident. Is it not impolitic to promote them ? Do they 
not ' eternize the reign of poverty, superstition, and savage 
ignorance ?' For Britain to legislate for idolatry, lest its 
institutions should grow into disuse — to stoop to the drudgery 
of superintending the collection of money from pilgrims, 
' a painted, pagan, semi -barbarous race;' and, 'last, not 
least' — for the character of Britain to be associated with 
idolaters in their scenes of revelry, vice, and misery, is de- 
grading to our national character,t and displeasing to Him 
who calls idolatry ** that abominable thing which I hate.^' 
The general features of this system are legislation for ido- 
latry; paying monthly stipends to priests (from temple 
lands in die hand of Government) ; accumulating wealth 
(the Collector at Allahabad receiving 1 per cent, at Gya 
5 per cent, and at Juggernaut, it is said, 10 per cent, on 
the amount of collections); defiling the revenue of the 

* Friend of India, as above, pp. 283, 284. 

t The Collector of Tax at Juggernaut addresses the Chief Secretary 
to Government, March, 1806:— "I have the honour to acquaint you 
that Ram Bukhsh and Ram Hutgur, pilgrims, presented a serviceable 
elephant to Juggernaut, and 200 rupees for itsr expenses, which last about 
six months. The god's establishment is six elephants / At or before the 
end of six months it will be necessary for Government either to order 
the elephant to be disposed of, or appoint some fund for its support, 
should it be deemed advisable to keep it for Juggernaut* s vse /" Par. Papers, 
181 ''., p. 39. Who doe» not blush fof his Country's shame ? 

British HumamUy. 286 

country with the proeeeds of a tax, in many cases ** the 

frice iff blood;'' and assimilating professed Christians with 
doiaters» till the Christian character is scarcely distingnish- 
able, even in the broad feature of abhorring idols. The 

Hindoos in Orissa have asked the Author, "/« Sahab 

a Christian ? Does Sahab read the durma Poostuk^ 

or Holy Book ? Do not the Sahabs go to Pooree to wor- 
ship Juggern4iut? Why should the Company destroy 
Juggernaut ? he is their chakar^ or servant'' If Chris- 
tianity be a blessing to India, this system is evidently op- 
posed to its progress, and every principle of humanity and 
of Christianity demands its abolition. 


The facility and advantages of the repeal of the Pilgrim 
Ta^ — confirmation of the statements. 

It is presumed that the abolition of the Pilgrim Tax 
System would be very easy, being unconnected with cast or 
any ancient prejudices of the Hindoos. It is not like the 
suppression of Suttees, Infanticide, and the murder of the 
sick by the Ganges, though the propriety of the abolition 
of these dreadful customs, equally with the system under 
consideration, is demonstrable.* The abolition of this system 
would be a very popular measure ; and what humane, intel- 
ligent, pious mind but must rejoice to see the evils of pilgrim- 
age disappear from the plains of India? Britain nowuncon- 

♦ The influeoce of British authority among the priests of Juggernaut 
appears from a letter of Archdeacon Corrie^ written at Pooree, in 1823 : 
— *' Ou the occasion of a partial insurrection, about two years since, the 
priests gave out that Juggernaut would no longer suffer the English to 
remain in India, and would not return to his temple (on quitting it at 
the annual procession) till they were expelled ; and mentioned a certain 
day for their overthrow. This was justly considered by the General 
commandiug the District as an attempt to aid the insurgents against the 
Government ; and he sent a private order to the officer in charge here, 
that, if the Idol were not carried back as usual on the stated day, he 
should replace it by force, and take military possession of the temple. 
The natives about the General no doubt gave notice to the priests, and 
Juggenumt rtttimed before his time.'* Miss. Register, 1824, p. 582. 

986 Indm's Crie$ ia 

•eioasly sapporU, regulates, and aggrairfkea idolatry at 
some of the principal plaees of pilgrimage ; Christianity ia 
tears approaches her and says, ** Touch not, taste not, 
handle not.'' O ye honoured men ! at whose feet lie the 
destinies of millions, remove your countenance from idola- 
try, encourage the establishment of true religion in the East, 
and then, in these idolatrous establishments, will the sen- 
timent of the Latin poet be verified : — 

** Vis consili expers, mole ruit suft.'* Hor, 

The advantages of the repeal of the Pilgrim Tax (im- 
plying that the British entirely withdraw £eir connexion 
from Hindoo temples) are evident. The most prominent 
is the reduction of idolatrous establishments. Col. Fhipps 
states, on the authority of a respectable native, that 3000 
families are connected with Juggernaut's temple. Mr. 
Harington estimates the annual expenditure of the temple at 
74,880 rupees. " During the Chundun and Ruth Jattras 
in 1822, embracing about two months, 40,000 rupees 
(£5,000) were collected and paid over to the attendants of 
the temple, who had brought the pilgrims." Estimating 
the annual premium to the pilgrim hunters at 50,000 rupees, 
the sum requisite to support Juggernaut's present esta- 
hlishment would he 124,880 rupees ; to meet which, the 
endowed lauds amount to only 26,818 rupees, leaving a de- 
ficiency of 90,062 rupees (£11,257). This sum has to be 
collected under the direction of a Christian Government, 
and to be paid to the attendants of Juggernaut, — who 
suffer their deluded votaries to die of want and neglect in 
the very precincts of the temple and the town, and then 
throw them out upon the sands, for their bones and skulls 
to whiten its arid plains. 

The establishment of Brahmuns and inferior attendants 
at Gya and Allahabad must be considerable, the net re- 
ceipts to Government in one year being according to Mr. 
Harington's statement, — at Gya 182,876 rupees, and at Al- 
lahabad 73,053 rupees. The annual proceeds of this system 
appear to be about £70,000 sterling. These are the bribes 
idolatry puts into the hands of Britain for legislating in its 
idolatrous establishments : but double, treble, ten-fold these 
sums are amassed by its priests in consequence of the cele- 
brity of its services. Let Britain, consistently with her 
character, retire from these idolatrous and obscene esta- 
blishments, and would their popularity continue? At first 

BriiM Humamiy. 9U 

the attenda&Ge luiglil be owflidenMe, but tbe mr dty woold 
gradually cease ; and though (as in other places uuaoticed 
by the GoYerpment) the pilgriiBa|fe8 might continue, the 
inseparable attendants, — poverty^ sickness, and death, could 
not be so great. The Author has been at Bobuneswer^ 
Munchaswer, Furamunx, and Teenaturra, places of pil- 
grimage in Orissa ; but he does not recollect seeing a sick 
person among thousands of pilgrims, or a skeleton on the 
journey. Why such a contrast between these places and 
Juggernaut? The former are unnoticed by Governmeut, 
and no tax is levied. The latter has a vast establishment^ 
supported and enriched at the expense of the lives of thou- 
sands ! 

" All my way from the Chilka Lake to Madras," says 
Dr. Buchanan, " I did not see one skull. Like the other 
temples in the Deccan, the revenues of the temple of Ra- 
misseram are wasting away. But Juggernaut will fall 
before Ramacoil or Ramisseram. I saw no human bone 
in the island. Christianity in its worst shape has civilized 
the Deccan. All descriptions of people are more humane 
and intelligent than the Hindoos of Bengal/'"^ 

Let Britam retire from the temple of Juggernaut ; let 
her obey the Divine command concerning papal Rome, 
equally appropriate to pagan establishments — ** Come out 
of her my people, that ye be no^t partakers of her sins, and 
that ye receive not of her plagues.'^ (Rev. xviii. 4). And 
what would be the happy effects ? ** The vast establishment 
of Juggernaut, founded as it is un delusion and unfeeling 
cruelty, would not long continue in its present splendour, 
when it ceased to be upheld by virtues of Christian growth. 
British regularity, activity, and faithfulness, are virtues 
which Juggernaut's worship is incapable of producing; 
and without these the larger the establishment and the sum 
annually received, the sooner would the whole fall into 
ruin, belfish and rapacious, none of the pundas in the 
temple would trust one another.^ Whatever might be the 

* Life of Buchanan, toI. ii. p. 49. 

f The late Bishop Heber, speaking of a public meeting of natives in 
Calcutta, for the relief of the sufferers by famine on the Coromandel 
coast, states a fact illustrative of this assertion : — One of the most libera) 
of tbe subscribers, Vomanundun Thakoor, said to him — " Ramaswame 
Pundit may be a very good man, but I took care at the meeting that 
all money subscribed should be lodged with the house of Palmer and Co. 
and be distributed at Madras by Uie English Committee there. I da 

S68' India's Cries to 

Sam received one year (part of which they would probably 
conceal from each other), no punda would have the enter- 
prize to expend sixty thousand rupees on the Idol's esta- 
blishment as a speculation for the next year's profits, of 
which, after all, others might deprive him. No one of tliem 
would have the activity to see that all the attendants did 
their duty. One would neglect to prepare Juggernaut's 
food and perhaps sell the articles; others would neglect 
his wardrobe; and others the temple itself both within and 
without. As for the pundas bein^ at the expense of adorn- 
ing his car with the finest English woollens from year to 
year, this would be out of the question. If they did it one 
year, they would neglect it the next ; and thus the temple, 
with all its apparatus , would gradually sink into neglect 
and contempt r^ 

Another advantage would be, a decrease of pilgrim hun- 
ters. These men would not travel to collect pilgrims, as they 
now do, were they uncertain what they should obtain for 
their labour. Now they know the price set upon each in- 
dividual, and British integrity ensures its payment; and 
hence the number of these people traversing the country 
with their miserable groups. Thousands of pilgrims execrate 
the oppressions practised upon them, and relate with horror 
the ravages of death : but the fascinations of the travelling 
pundas prevail with the credulous and superstitious, and 
every year produces multitudes of votaries, of each sex and 
of various ages, for this horrid pilgrimage. 

not know the Madras Pundits, but I know that Europe Gentlemen have a 
character to lose J* Vol. i. p. 74. 

♦ Friend of India, Oct. 1825, p. 281, 282.—" The woollen cloths were 
formerly supplied by the Soobahs, and since by the Commissioners and 
Collectors, the officers of the temple declaring themselves incapable of pro- 
curing them ! ! The quantity required is 484 guz. (yards), of which one 
piece must be of superfine cloth. The colours are of no consequence, 
but there should be variety ; they can be best supplied from the Company's 
warehouses, and the charge is therefore omitted. Owing to the want of 
an efficient control, I have every reason to believe the internal affairs of 
the temple have not been properly conducted of late. The Rajah attributes 
the improprieties to the conduct of the head Purcha, who he says refuses 
to obey his orders ; the head Purcha attributes them to the Rajah's orders 
having been inconsistent with the recorded rules and established customs 
of the institution. There are complaints made that both parties have 
refused permission to opulent Hindoos to make valuable presents to the 
idol, unless a previous Nuzzuranna were paid, in one instance to the 
Rajah, and in the other to the Purcbas, for permission."— Feb. 1809, 
C. Duller, Esq.— Par. Papers, 1813, p. 65—74. Avth. 

Brituh Humanity. , 369 

" It appears,'^ sa^^s Colonel Phipps, " to haye escaped 
observation, that, under Uie present arrangement, THB En- 

ALL OVER India to delude the ignorant and su- 


families! This is the more extraordinary, as the Presi- 
dent of the Board of Commissioners, in his correspondence 
with the Court of Directors, argues that the tax cannot be 
considered as introducing or tolerating the practice of ido- 
latry. The arguments used on the spot are short and plain. 
The purharees and pundas will neither employ agents to 
entice pilgrims, nor will they treat them properly and kindly 
unless it is made their interest to do so. Hindoos will 
seldom come, if left to themselves ; and, if the pilgrimage 
become unpopular, the tax will be so unproductive as not to 
be worth collecting. It is the opinion of the best informed 
persons in the Province that the dreadful scenes which 
occur annually, on all the high roads leading to Juggernaut, 
would soon cease, if the temple were placed an the sam^ 
footing as numerous other places of idolatrous worship^ 
which are left unthout any kind of interference on the part 
of Government.^'** 

A further advantage would be the decrease of the popu- 
larity of places of pilgrimage, and consequently a dimi- 
nution in the number and mortality of the pilgrims. A 
decrease in the resort of pilgrims to any place, naturally 
lessens its notoriety. Let the Pilgrim Tax be abolished 
and few will be induced to collect pilgrims. Free ingress 
and egress as it respects holy places, long restricted by 
penal enactments, might, for a short time, increase the 
number of pilgrims, but the novelty would soon wear away ; 
and, even while it continued, the pilgrims, having no tax to 
pay, could better support themselves than at present, con- 
sequently there would be less mortality. Of the temples of 
Bobuneswer, Mr. Stirling remarks, *' A considerable num- 

^^..*vJL«* !* Mil. Regis. 1824, p. 580. ^ 

ZrO India'M Cries to 

ber are still in a state of preseryatioD, fhourii entirely neg- , 
lected and deserted ;" the Black Pagoda ; Kalee Ghaut m 
the vicinity of Calcutta, 8cc., show that idolatry in India 
possesses the principles of change, decay, and dissolution, 
when unsupported by the ruling authorities. " Let the tatx 
and the premium for bringing pilgrims be at once dropped i 
let all British interference with the idol and its temple be 
withdrawn ; and it is certain their popularity cannot long 
stand. If it did, the reproach and the guilt of blood would 
be for ever rolled away from the nritish nation. It 
must in future stand through virtues of its own growth, or 
sink to ruin. Even the disappearance of all that regu- 
larity and splendour imparted to the worship of this idol, 
through British interference, could not be unnoticed by the 
natives; and would weigh in the most powerful manner. 
** Why have the British withdrawn themselves ? What is 
there in the worship of Juggernaut which has made them 
choose to give up every idea of profit, rather than counte- 
nance it any longer ? This cannot arise from veneration. 
It must arise from the reverse." Thus would a shock be 
iven to this destructive delusion which it has not received 

or ages. 

*' Even the delusion attached to the spot, when it was no 
longer guarded by British power, would soon cease. At 
present the whole weight of the British authority is em- 
ployed to support the deception that Pooree is a place pecu- 
liarly holy, by refusing admittance to any not authorized to 
enter by paying the tax, &c., and by compelling them to 
leave the town as soon as their permission expires I As 
the pundas would not be vested with ma^sterial power, 
they would have no right to support this delusion by the 
arm of civil authority. It must rest wholly on opinion ; 
and, in spite of all their endeavours, people would both en- 
ter and prolong their stay contrary to their commands : and 
thus by degrees the place itself would become too common 
to yield its present revenue. Thus, when left to itself, this 
object of idolatry would naturally destroy itself. While its 
worship is delusion, the God of truth seems to have or- 
dained that, in the very nature of things, idol worship 
should contain within itself the seeds of its own decay ; 
and to attempt to counteract this natural tendency, and to 
support idolatry by virtue and wisdom the growth of Cfhriis- 
tianity, seems an act which, if continued, would make us 

BritUh Humaniiy. 971 

fear iriore for the British empire in India, than from the 
combination of all its enemies."^ 

Finally, the British character would appear in its tme 
light y and the efforts of Christian benevolence for melio- 
rating the state of India be more sticcessful than at pre-^ 
sent. Is it to the honour of Britain to collect annually 
about 600,000 rupees from the deluded followers of ido<* 
latry, while they are enriched who travel through the coun- 
try to inveigle them from their business and their families, 
frequently never, never to return ? Will not the heathen 
think Christianity similar to Idolatry, which amasses wealth 
at *' the price of blood V Does not the Hindoo think 
highly of his idolatrous rites, when he sees the solicitude of 
his Christian Bulers lest they should grow into disuse ? It 
must appear incongruous to the Hindoos, to see some Eu 
ropeand endeavouring to turn them from idols, and others 
engaged in their festivals as if they were concerned for the 
support of their establishments. The following anecdote 
shows the effect of European connexion with idolatry upon 
the native mind: — 

Passing one evening the large temple of Seeta Ram at 
Cuttack (the endowed lands of which it is supposed are in 
the hands of Government, and an annual allowance made 
to the priests), I caught a sight of one of the idols, and ex- 
claimed, ** pape ! papel-' (sinful, sinful). The native who 
was with me asked, " Sir, is that sinful for which the Com- 
pany give thousands?" (meaning rupees). I felt con- 
founded, and said, " Yes, it is sinful : but the Company 
are a long way off; they do not know everything about this 
country, &c." " Some of the most common arguments 
employed in favour of idolatry," says a missionary in Orissa, 
in October 1825, "are conveyed in the followii^ questions ; 
* If Juggernaut be, as you say^ nothing^ then why do so 
ma/ny people come so far to see him ? If Juggernaut be 
nothing^ then why do the Company take so much money of 
the pilgrims at the entrance of the town ?* I asked Abra- 
ham (the Hindoo teacher) what he said when the people 
talked about the Company taking the people's money : he 
said, he replied, ' So far from acknowledging Juggernaut, 
the English do it to punish the people ! It would be too 
much trouble to flog so many people, therefore they set up 
a gate and fine them !' In the simplicity of his heart the 

_ * Friend of India, No. xiii. p. 280—283. 

372 India's Cries to 

poor fellow seemed to believe this was the case, and I did 
not undeceive him. As I cannot honestly defend it, I al- 
ways say it is a sinful practice. As there is a Providence, 
I certainly think the British power has more to fear from 
its connexion with idolatry in this country than from any 
thing else. A man said to me a few days ago, ' If the 
Government does not forsake Juggernaut, how can you 
expect that we should? These arguments discompose me 
more than any others ; and they are urged every day, and, 
perhaps, some days, several times." A late missionary in 
Orissa writes in April 1828, *• This evening I met with a 
troublesome man who asked me several questions. * If 
Juggernaut be nothing, why do *he Company take so 
many rupees V I answered that was not my sin nor bis. 
' There are some of you (said the cnooroo) who are not holy 
in all their conduct. If your re^iuk>n were true, then the 
Government would support it : butlihey do not.' " 

Confirmation of the above statements, showing the pro- 
priety a/nd utility of the repeal of the Pilgrim Ta^, and the 
disconiinuance of British connexion with idolatry in India, 
appeal's important. The following facts it is presumed are 
deserving of serious attention. — 

''About the close of the year 1801 a Civil Servant of 
• the Hon. Company, holding the station of Collector in one 
of the southern Provinces of the Madras Presidency, sent 
his peons to the great Pagoda of the Province, with orders 
to break the car of Juggernaut in pieces and sell the wood, 
as it had been the property of a rebel chief. The Brah- 
muns remonstrated, claiming the car as the property of the 
god, and repulsed the peons. The Collector, however, 
apprized them that he should renew the attempt. On 
learning this, the Brahmuus sent him an intimidation, and 
caused it to be circulated through the province, • That if 
he offered such a profanation to the car of the god, holy 
Brahmuns would cast themselves headlong from the lofty 
tower of the Pagoda.' The Collector sent a formal mes- 
sage, informing them he had heard of their vow to kill 
themselves, and that he and his family would attend to wit- 
ness the spectacle. On the day appointed a great mul- 
titude assembled. The Collector and his family, his peons 
and retinue, attended. The tower over the gateway of the 
pagoda was the place from which the Brahmuns threatened 
to precipitate themselves. Within a full view of the tower, 
chairs were set for the Collector and his familv- The deci- 

British Hufnaniiy. 273 

sive moment now arrived : — the Brahmuns appeared on the 
top of the tower, and the Collector gave the order for the 
demolition. The firahmnns, with loud imprecations, and 
menacing gesticulations, endeavoured to intimidate him. 
They rushed repeatedly to the verge of the tower, and as 
often retired. But the officer was firm to his purpose : the 
car was broken, and the wood ordered to be sold; upon 
which the Brahmuns silently withdrew from the tower, and 
the crowd quietly dispersed."* 

*' A rare circumstance has occurred this year," says the 
Calcutta Missionary Herald, July, 1834, *' in reference to 
the car of Juggernaut, kept at Chandemagore, which be- 
longs to the French. jT^is huge car, which is not much 
smaller than the one ne*^' Serampore, used to be dragged 
along the main road leading to Taldanga, where it used to 
stand for the space of a^veek, and was then brought back 
to its stand at Laldigghee. This road has lately undergone 
a thorough repair ; and the French authorities sent word to 
the proprietors of the ruth that, as the wheels of the car 
would tear up the road, they could not suffer it to be 
dragged over it, unless they paid 600 rupees for its repair. 
The owners of it offered a sum considerably less than what 
was demanded, in consequence of which the ruth was not 
allowed to be drawn, in spite of the earnest entreaties of 
the Hindoos. Thus one of their most ancient customs has 
been laid aside by the peremptory orders of the Rulers of 
Chandemagore, without creating any spirit of rebellion 
among the Hindoos. A tax has been laid upon Jugger- 
naut, and as he could not pay the mulct, and his votaries 
had not sufficient respect to pay it for him, he remains a 
monument of his impotency and subserviency to an earthly 

"A few years since there were two cars of Juggernaut 
at Bydpoor, near Culna, in the Nuddea district. They 
were kept at a short distance from the town, near an unfre- 
quented road. From time to time several persons were 
missing, who were never heard of again. It was at length 
discovered that these cars were the nests of waylayers or 
footpads, whence they issued and knocked down solitary 
individuals for the purpose of robbing them: they almost in- 
variably murdered them, and then took their bodies and 
concealed them among the wheels of the cars. The fre- 

♦ Mia. Reikis. 1814, p. 58. f Asi. Journ. May, 1825, 

274 India'* CrU$ to 

quent occnrnBiice of these mnrders occasioiied ^[reattroiiUe 
to tlie villagers, who were bound and exanuned by tii9 
police officers, and subject to great oppressions. It happily 
occurred to some Hindoos of the place that as long aa 
Juggernaut's cars remained they should never escape the 
trouble brought upon them by the murders committed near 
them; they therefore came to the determination of setting 
fire to them, suid burnt them to the ground. The place of 
concealment being removed, the murders have ceased."* 

Great depredations are practised upon the pilgrims at Jug- 
gernaut's temple in Orissa. As they enter the town, the 
men employed to drag the cars have been seen to come 
firom their encampment and seize their chattas, clothes, Sec. 
In the town, as the^^ lie asleep, their money is frequently 
stolen from them. Within the temple what oppressions are 
committed must remain unknown to Europeans, as no one 
enters it.f Hundreds, yea, thousands, die of starvation, 
exposure, &c., occasioned by the cruelty practised at 
Pooree. O that some of the Hindoos were wise and firm 
enough to destroy these cars ! When shall the dreadful 
celebrity of Juggernaut cease for ever! 

A. Stirling, Esq., in his '* Account of Orissa," states 
what would be the result of leaving Juggernaut uncon* 
nected with the Government. '* Generally, from two to 
three days are consumed in reaching the Gondicha Nour 
temple, where the images are taken out. Before even this 
period is elapsed, the curiosity and enthusiasm of the pil- 
grims have nearly quite evaporated ; they steal off in num- 
bers, and leave Shree Jeo to get hack \to the temple as 
he may I Without the aid of the villagers before de- 
scribed'*^ and the population of Pooree, who hold their 

* Asi. Jour. May 1826. — Mis. Herald, Aug. 1825, 

f " Some captious persons became offended, and called out to the 
multitude, * Worship Juggernaut, worship Juggernaut.' — Miss. Who is 
Juggernaut? He that aits on the blue mountains. — Miss. If that image 
be Dunn Brumha, why does it decay ? for you know it is renewed every 
twelve years. If he were Juggernaut (the Lord of the world) would he 
permit his priests in his presence to tear away the silver and gold ear-rings 
and nose jewels of thejattrees? You know you can never come away from 
Pooree with a rupeCy or pice^ or cloth, or lota: could this, t/uTik you, be 
the case if Juggernaut were there? It is all a trick of the Brahmuns to 
get your money to feed themselves." — Ex. Mis. Jour. 1827. 

t "The inhabitants of the neighbouring Pergunnah, Raheng, Lumbai, 
&c., whose jpeculiai duty and privilege it^ is, conjointly with the in- 
habitants of Pooree, to drag the ruths.'' 

British Mumamiy, 29^6 

gl^aundfree ofrent^ on cariditian ofp^forming this service 
for the deity J the cars would now infallibly stick ai the 
Crondicha Nour I Even the god*s own servants will not 
labour zealously and effectually without the interposition 
of authority ; and I imagine the ceremony (the car festi* 
valj would soon cease to be conducted on its present scale^ 
— if the Institution were left entirely to its own fate and 
to its oum resources by the Officers of the British Govern-^ 

The foUowing statement from a correspondent at Cut- 
tack appeared in tfie Calcutta John Bull, July, 1821 "^ — 
** On account of the lateness of the Ruth Jattra this year^ 
it was not expected that the assemblage of pligrims would 
be so great ; but nothing like the falling off that took 
place was anticipated* Monsieur Juggernaut, in fact, was 
almost deserted ; and Messrs. Brahmun^ Pundit, and Co.^ 
threatened to remove his worship to a more central situa- 
tion in India (in the neighbourhood of Mooradabad). We 
congratulate our friends in those parts on their good luck 
in the prospect of such a visit! We are sorry to state that 
from the epidemic, want, and exposiire> the mortality 
aittong the few deluded wretches (comparatively) that did 
come was awful. We hope from the signs of the times 
lliat the reign of Juggernaut is drawing to a close, or is at 
least upon the decline. The pilgrims either could not or 
Would not draw the ruth, and the priests of this vile super^ 
stition were obliged to call in other assistance. If the na- 
tives are not yet becoming Christians, we believe they are 
becoming less willing dupes to the Brahmuns. No de- 
votee was found to pave the way with his blood for Moloch. 
The sight at the opening of the gates for the admission of 
pilgrims would have melted the heart of a savage; numbers 
of expiring wretches were carried in that they might die 
at the polluted and horrid shrine, instead of enjoying their 
domestic comforts in their native village. Who that wit- 
nesses or hears of such scenes, but must long for the time 
when these vile, degrading, and worthless rituals will pass 
away, and the pure, simple, exalting, and peace-giving re- 
ligion of Jesus bless the benighted plains of Hindostan ?f " 

* No missionary or Chaplain had resided at C attack from its con- 
quest in 1803 to this period. The author and his colleague arrived at 
this station Feb. 1822. 

t Asi. Jour. March, 1822. On the decay of Idolatry see Francklin's 
* Site of the Ancient Palibothra,' Part i. pp. 24, 25. 

T 2 

276 Indians Cries to 

Let Britain discountenance idolatry^ and Dagon will fail be-^ 
fore the ark. 

The Par. Papers respecting Juggernaat, May, 1813, 
abundantly show that the temple would gradually decrease 
in celebrity, but for the support of the British Government. 
References are made to the advance of money for the use 
of it. A petition from the chief Purcha, in May, 1807, 
states, "But, for the service of Shree Jeo, it is necessary 
that some money should he given at present by Government 
on charge of the dewal Purcbas; and, if money is not 
given, there will be the utmost difficulty in carrying on the 
affairs of the temple /" p. 61. The Board of Revenue in 
1806 suggested that the temple should be supported from 
the proceeds of its own lands, with fees levied on its ac- 
count, and voluntary contributions ; to which the Collector 
of tax replied, " I suspect the priesthood tvill not tmllingly 
agree to continue the ceremonies of Juggernaut, in the pre- 
sent style, with the funds proposed to be assigned to them J* 
pp. 50—53, see also pp. 58, 59, 60—65. Should a 
Christian people thus uphold idolatry ? 

The following brief extracts from the Calcutta Papers, 
previously to the Author's leaving India, in Nov. 1825, 
show the nature of public opinion concerning the propriety 
of abolishing the Pilgrim Tax : — 

The India Gazette of Oct. 17, 1825, contains an article 
relative to Juggernaut ; a brief extract is inserted. — ** In 
the Weekly Messenger of yesterday there is a most har- 
rowing account of the miseries suffered by the poor crea- 
tures who crowded to Juggernaut, to attend the Satanic 
festival of the Ruth Jattra. It is humiliating to read such 
things. They are degrading to us as men, and derogatory 
to our character as Christian masters of this country. And is 
it possible that yearly similar scenes occur ? But do not the 
Brahmuns fatten ? Do not the wily heartless priests, who 
squeeze the last rupee out of the hands of the poor victims, 
do they not profit by the system ? Yes : and they will 
retort the charge that they alone do not jirojit by it. The 
abstraction of such vast masses of people must be very in- 
jurious to the general prosperity of the tracts whence they 
issue ; unless India in general be considered too populous. 
When y^e remember the many places that lie waste, where 
a teeming soil would reward the efforts of the industrious, 
we cannot help thinking the population could be distributed 
more judiciously than by a long and deadly pilgrimage to 

British Humanity. 277 

Jugf^emaut, were the journey merely dependent upon those 
convictions of necessity which lead to emigration, instead 
of the blind zeal of a flagitious superstition." 

" We have perused with some attention," says the Editor 
of the Calcutta John Bull, November, the same year, " an 
article in the last ' Friend of India,' entitled * Reflections 
on the incidents which occurred this year at the Ruth Jattra 
of Juggernaut in Orissa.' The subject is unquestionably 
of the first moment, inasmuch as the alleviation of human 
misery and the preservation of human life must be objects 
of the highest importance to every Christian and humane 
Government. The writer in the * Friend of India,' ad- 
verting to the fact that the tax humanely imposed hy Go- 
vernment to discourage the practice has become the very 
means of perpetuating it, and been even converted, by 
those who have a selfish purpose to answer in keeping it 
up, into a proof that the Christian Government of India 
recognizes the divinity of Juggernaut, and believes in the 
virtue of a pilgrimage to his shrine as expiating sin : he 
proposes (and we certainly concur with him) to abolish the 
ta^ altogether, and to leave the Hindoos free to go or not 
as they please on this pilgrimage. Nothing we are per- 
suaded would tend more efifectually to lessen the resort of 
pilgrims to this celebrated seat of superstition than the 
total indifference of Government as to the practice. The 
tax imposed upon the pilgrims, when found, as we believe it 
, is, ineffectual as a check upon the practice, ought without 
delay to be abrogated. It has been imposed in ignorance 
of the native character; but now a better knowledge of this 
character is acquired, — and the natives themselves are un- 
doubtedly beginning to be influenced in their notions as to 
the value of their religious acts by their intercourse with 
Europeans — it is time to change the system, and, at least, 
to try the effects of one directly opposed to the present, so 
far as levying a tax is concerned. The good people at 
home do not do justice to the Government of this country 
in the object they have in view by tiiis tax. They maintain 
that it is a desire of revenue which has imposed it ; and cer- 
tainly, where the fact of its efliciency for that purpose is 
proved, this representation acquires strength by the con- 
tinuance of the impost."* 

Asi. Jour. Feb. 1827, p. 270. 

278 India' $ Cries to 

" We hesitate not/' says the Editor of the Columbiao 
Press Gazette, " to declare our concurrence in the senti- 
ments expressed in the Bull, on the subject of the pilgrimage 
Co Juggernaut. There can be no reason to doubt that the 
tax levied to promote the convenience of the pilgrimage, 
and to increase the revenue at the same time, is calculated 
to create an impression among the natives that the British 
Government does countenance and believe in the efficacy 
of such pilgrimages; while by the European world at large 
it is deemed satisfactory evidence that our chief, if not sole 
object, is to derive a profit from a source so polluted. The 
best method therefore of proving that we are not actuated 
by a motive so unworthy is to repeal it at once. It cer- 
tainly has not been effectual in diminishing the number of 
pilgrims ; and indeed, if we are rightly informed, it was 
never intended to produce such effects, being chiefly levied 
in the first instance to provide comforts for the pilgrims, 
and thereby (though humanely aimed at the diminution of 
human suffering) directly tending to encourage the super* 
stitious practices which caused it'* 

The Bengal Weekly Messenger, about the same date, 
contains the following paragraph : — ** We believe now, 
though we hear it for the first time, that the English Go- 
vernment maintains, by rewarding, a set of men called pil-* 
grim' hunters, trained up by the various functionaries of the 
temple, to traverse the whole country, for the purpose of 
inducing the wretched inhabitants to undertake the pil- 
grimage, for what is confessedly not intended to form an 
item of our revenue, and almost the whole of which is ex* 
pended under British auspices, in adorning and maintain- 
ing the Idol and its numerous establishment ; thereby pre- 
serving a last refuge for that religion, which, in all other 
parts of our Indian territory, we are encouraging every 
proper endeavour to eradicate ! We feel fully persuaded 
that entire neglect of Juggernaut^ on our party would in a 
moderate time be followed by equal indifference on th^part 
of the worshippers : on this principle we conceive many 
places of ancient superstitious reputation have now fallen 
into decay, though once, perhaps, as great in sanctity as the 
Pagoda of Juggernaut. Let the tax then be abolished ; 
desuetude will be the consequence at last, although the 
first succeeding year or two may produce a greater cour 
course of people. Let us not assist to keep up the mystery 
and priestcraft of the worship ; let us not, by our authority. 

British Humanity. 279 

help to maintaiD the splendouc of the Idol, nor his reputa* 
tion of that abstergent holiness which is believed to wash 
away the sins of those who approach its residence, and the 
result will be found to answer the expectations which are so 
reasonably cherished.'' 

The late Rev. T. Thomason, of Calcutta, in a letter to 
the Author in Aug. 1824, writes : — '' The sad subject of the 
tax on pilgrims has been again and again brought forward. 
Before Mr. Harington was out of Council the subject was 
fully discussed ; minutes were written, opinions collected, 
and the whole is gone for the decision of the Court of 
Directors. Doubtless this and other abominations will 
give way at length, but politicians may protract their con- 
tinuance for a season/' In another letter, dated Calcutta, 
March, 1825, he says, '' Every thing has been done here in 
the matter of the Juggernaut abomination and of the hum- 
i^ff 9f Widows. ' For this also we must wait. Having 
done all we can only look to Him who can give prosperity." 

" Every man who can afford it," says the late Dr. Bu- 
chanan, •' is obliged to pay a tribute to the English Govern- 
ment for leave to worship the Idol (Juggernaut) ! It will 
give me sincere pleasure if the further investigation of this 
subject shall tend, in any degree, to soften the shameful 
impression which the above statement must make on the 
public mind. What can be compared to the disgrace of 
regulating by Christian law the bloody and obscene rites of 
Juggernaut? The honour of our nation is certainly in* 
volved in this matter. But there is no room for the lan- 
guage of crimination or reproach ; for it is the sin of igno- 
rance. These facts are not generally known, because there 
has been no official inquiry. In regard to the Idol tax, the 
principle of the enormity, it is said, has never been fully 
explained to the Government at home. The Honourable 
the Court of Directors will feel as indignant, on a full 
developement of the fact, as any public body of the nation."* 
In a letter addressed to the Hon. Court, respecting Jugger- 
naut, May, 1813, he declares, " A writer may able, by 
the power of high embellishment, by noticing indifferent cir- 
cumstances, and entirely suppressing others, to represent 
the Idol Juggernaut as one of the ' gay and elegant deities 
of Greece and Rome ;' but the substance of the facts, as 
stated by others, will remain the same. It will still continue 
true that Juggernaut is a fountain of vice and misery to 

, * The Eras of Lrght, 1810, pp. 41—44. 

280 India's Cries to 

millioBS of mankind; that the sanguinary and obscene cha- 
racter of the worship is in the highest degree revolting, and 
that it will be a most happy event when our Chrislian 
nation shall dissolve its connexion with that polluted place. ^^ 

The editor of the Missionary Register, Feb. 1828, refer- 
ring to the permission of Suttees and to the Pilgrim Tax, 
justly remarks, — '* There are two topics of a very distres(»- 
ing nature, because they are putting to hazard the fidelity 
of this country in the discharge of that high trust which has 
been committed to it, in its delegated stewardship of India. 
The pilgrim Tax, levied by the Indian Government, on 
idolaters going on pilgrimage to supposed sacred places, 
whatever were its design, has had the acknowledged effect 
of sanctioning and legalising this destructive and wicked 
superstition." Adverting to the author's pamphlet on 
Pilgrim Tax in India, it is observed — *' The author has 
collected abundant testimony to the duty, facilities, and ad- 
vantages of the entire and immediate abandonment of this 
pernicious system." 

The following remarks on ' Revenue from Hindoo Tem- 
ples,' by a public officer of high rank in India, appear very 
judicious : — ** As the greater proportion of the pilgrims who 
present the offerings which constitute the revenue of Govern- 
ment are the inhabitants of the Honourable Company's ter- 
ritories, it becomes necessary to consider the effect of the 
payment of the tax. It will not, I conceive, require much 
argument to prove that the amount of collections drawn 
from them is most injurious to the general resources of the 
Government, more particularly with regard to the gifts made 
by landholders, from the richest zemindar to the poorest ryot. 
The offerings at the Pagoda tend to diminish their power of 
paying their rents, and that even to a much greater extent 
than if they were to pay a similar sum by a tax in any other 
mode ; for the time and labour consumed in the journey, the 
extravagance and waste while the pilgrims remain, the ac- 
tual detriment their cultivation and stock must suffer in 
consequence of their absence, are all to be considered : and 
this injury to their individual, and thus to the Government's 
interests, is entirely the effect of their being induced by 
their prejudices to proceed to so great a distance, to make 
an ofTering, that is, literally, to pay an additional tax to 
Government above their assessments ; whereas, if no faci- 
lity for so senseless a proceeding were offered to them, 
there is reason to believe that they would, with the sum ex- 
pended in offerings, be either discharging their rents with 

British Humanity. 281 

greater exactness, or adding to tbeir capital. I would sub- 
mit, therefore, that it would appear clearly to be most con- 
sistent unth the best interests cf Government to discourage 
the inftux of their landholders {is pilgrims to — , 

" The remaining portion of the Company's subjects who 
visit the — — , and add to the revenues of Government 
by their contributions there, are the merchants, manufac- 
turers, and artificers, with probably a small number of the idle 
part of the population. It is a well-established fact that, in 
the years of plentiful crops of grain, the Government dues 
are collected with the least facility, in consequence of 
the difficulty the ryots experience in disposing of their 
grain ; it is plain they cannot sell to each other, as all 
nave grain to dispose of— it follows the consumers and pur- 
chasers are the mercantile and manufacturing classes. As 
the quantity they can afiTord to buy; or the price they can 
afford to give, must of necessity depend on the earnings of 
their labour, should this class of persons be induced, by any 
facility not now possessed, to come in greater numbers to 
— — , the loss to the state must be very considerable ; 
for they cannot follow their professions on their journey, 
but must be wasting their time and means ; the value of the 
employment of their labour must be lost to themselves and 
to the Government. To put this in a clear light, suppose 
for a moment the circumstance of the whole manufacturing 
and mercantile population of the district of , leav- 
ing their employments and undertaking a pilgrimage to 

— : we should at once see the bad effects of such a 

measure ; — they would lose all their time and labour, thus 
greatly decreasing individual wealth ; and the ryots would 
be suffering severely, there being no market for their grain. 
I do not imagine any person would think of encouraging 
such a movement of the population, and yet exactly the 
same effects follow in proportion from the absence of one 
or ten inhabitants of that country, or of any other of 
the Honourable Company's Provinces on a pilgrimage to 

, as in the case of the absence of the whole body. 

It is just as much the best policy of Government to dis- 
courage the pilgrimage in one or ten, as it would be their 
best policy on the supposition of the movement of the whole 
mercantile and manufacturing population.''* 

* Asi. Journ. May, 1822, p. 439. See some interesting remarks in the 
Ori. Her. vol. ii. p. 71. 

863 India's Cries to 

** It was not attempted to be denied^" says J. Poynder, 
£sq., *' that the British GoveroineDt not merely tolerates so 
much idolatry and crime, but derives an immense revenue from 
this polluted source. The gentleman who noticed external 
amendments (removing indecent emblems from the car, 
and the wall that surrounds the temple) has thought proper 
to produce only as much of the appalling account given 
by Colonel Phipps as was necessary to his own object ; — 
but he has passed over every thing in that relation which 
proves the idolatry of Juggernaut to be most destructive to 
the Indian population, in its consequences upon human life, 
and most disgraceful to the firitish Government, in its con- 
tinuance as a source of revenue. The public statement 
given by the Colonel* affords abundant proof that the con- 
tintumce of this national opprobrium is referrible to the 
Board of Control for India^ rather than to the Court of 
Directors of the East India Company ^""^ 

H. S. G. Tucker, Esq,, in his " Review of the Financial 
Situation of the East India Company in 1824," disapproves 
of the tax levied on the pilgrims resorting to Juggernaut 
and other holy places : '' he thinks it does not harmonize 
with a great and liberal Government. ^^X 

G. Udny, Esq., Member of Council in Calcutta, in 1806, 
entered a protest against some parts of the Pilgrim Tax 
System. He suggested, — ** If the revenue of the temple 
were insufficient for its support, a tax should be levied to 
meet the deficiency ; but that Government should have no 
direct concern with what related to the maintenance of the 
temple, or the payment of the officers." The reason as- 
signed was, '' The making provision by law for such pur- 
pose, it appears to me, would operate to sanction, and tend 
to perpetuate a system of gross idolatry, which CUyvemment 
is neither bound, nor does it seem becoming in it to do*^^ 
How much better that Britain should have no connexion 
with the temples of India, either in acquiring wealth from 
them, or in supporting or superintending their establish- 
ments ! 

'' It is evidently indecorous^ if not inconsistent," says 
the late J. H. Harington, Esq., Member of Council in 
Calcutta, 1827, in the third volume of his ''Analysis," 

* Miss. Reg. Dec. 1824. 

f. Speech on Human Sacrifices in India, March, 1827. (Hatchard) 

i Asi. Jour. June, 1825. § Par. Papers, May, 1813, p. 41. 

Britieh Humanity. 283 

that the Government of a nation professing Christianity 
should participate in the offerings of heathen superstition 
and idolatry." In correspondence with the writer, in 
1824, he stated the same opinion: — " I think, myself, a 
Christian Government ought not to derive a revenue from 
the allowance of tins sin.** And in a letter from the same 
Gentleman in Jane, 1825 (which contained the substance 
of the communication to J. Blunt, Esq., Commissioner of 
Orissa, relative to the relief of the pilgrims at the Car Fes- 
tival), he observed, *• The Court of Directors ^have re- 
cognized the Tax at JTuggernaut as a Fund applicable to 
local purposes, not as a part of the general revenue of the 
State ; and that scarcely any purpose could be even worthy 
of Government J except that of mitigating the mischiefs 
which this miserable superstition occasions" Let the 
British withdraw from the temple of Juggernaut all possible 
connexion, the eclat of the pilgrimage will gradually cease, 
and its miseries disappear. 

** We think," say the Board of Revenue in Calcutta, 
Sep. 1806, " the interference of the public officers, in su- 
perintending the general concerns of a Hindoo temple, so 
far from being calculated to promote economy in the e'x- 
penses, to increase the reputation and prosperity of the 
temple, or to augment the public revenue, is likely to be 
attended with contrary effects. We would recommend the 
whole of the internal economy and management of the 
temple to be left entirely to the Hindoo priesthood ; and 
that the interference of Government be confined to the 
levy of a duty from pilgrims, in like manner as is done at 
Gya and Allahabad. From the pilgrims resorting to Gya, 
Government derives an annual revenue of about 150,000 
rupees ; no interference whatever is had by the officers of 
Government with the priests of the temple. With re- 
ference to the substantial benefits arising to Grovern" 
ment from the tax upon pilgrims resorting to Gya, and, 
on the other hand, to the inconsiderable receipts by 
Government from the temple of Juggernaut since it has 
been under the British Government, we consider ourselves 
fully justified in recommending that the rules respecting 
the concerns of Jaggemaut's temple should be brought as 
near as possible to those visiting at Gya."* 

* Par. Papers relative to Juggernaut, May 1813. Extract of a Letter 
to Sir G. H. Barlow, Bart. 

284 India's Cries to 

In the correspondeoce of the Honourable Court of Di- 
rectors with the Right Honourable the Board of Commis- 
sioners for the Affairs of India, in 1809, sentiments are 
expressed opposed to a considerable part of the present 
System at Juggernaut. '' According to the Hindoo laws it 
may have been allowable for a Hindoo Government to in- 
terfere in the appointment of the ministers of that temple 
and the management of its affairs, but for our Government 
to elect its priests and officers^ to assume a control over the 
official conduct of those persons, to take the direction of its 
funds and the charge of preparing its annual car^ was, in 
the opinion of the Court, to furnish to the ill-intentioned 
pretexts for alarming the scrupulosity and superstition of 
the Hindoos in respect to their religion. The Court think- 
ing the interference of our Government in these matters 
generally improper, on the principles of the Hindoos and 
on our own, and especially improper at such a time ; judged 
it right, for the prevention of such interference in future, 
to express their disapprobation of it. The acts of inter- 
ference disapproved by the Court were specified to be, 
' electing the priests of the temple, controlling its ministers 
and officers, taking the management of its funds, or any 
other proceeding which would not leave the Hindoos in 
perfect possession of their religious immunities.' The 
Court beg leave respectfully to state that they still deem 
it their duty to propose the prohibition of these things ; 
and if there be any points relating to the religious esta- 
blishments of the Hindoos beyond the ' care of a police, 
the administration of justice, the collection of a tax requi- 
site for the attainment of these ends,' that it would be 
proper to specify it to the Government, instead of leaving 
a universal interference in all matters without exception 
open to them, on the ground of securing the public tranquil- 
lity ; because it is to be presumed there must be some point 
at which the interference of a Government not Hindoo, in 
the religious concerns of a people so remarkably separated 
and scrupulous in matters of that kind, must stop. The 
Court -intend to provide for the maintenance of the public 
tranquillity; and humbly hope they have done so, by leaving 
to the magistrate ' the care of the police, and the adminis- 
tration of justice :' and they beg leave to offer it as their 
opinion, that instead of interfering by a direct exercise of 
the authority of Government in such matters as — the con- 
tests between different priests and differenis sects about the 

British Humanity. 285 

expenditure and provision of its ftmds, the possession and 
pre-eminence of particular images* with other qaestioDs of 
that nature which have already arisen, and are always likely 
to arise in the internal administration of the temple : it 
will be better to refer all such questions to the judicial de-* 
termination of our established Courts, which being done, 
the interference of the Government for the public peace 
can only be necessary should the parties proceed to acts of 
open hostility against each other ."f 

This chapter may be closed by quoting the sentiments of 
the Bight Hon. the Board of Commissioners in 1808, in 
the correspondence already adverted to : they appear in 
strict consonance with the object here advocated. ** It is 
undoubtedly desirable to avoid as much as possible the exer- 
cise of any control over the management and concerns of 
the temple ; as our interference in such matters cannot but 
bey at all timesy disagreeable to the feelings and prejudices 
of the Hindoos ; and may occasionally furnish ground of 
jealousy and misrepresentationj in regard to our views and 
intentions respecting their religion. The revenue which 
may be raised, from any source of that nature, can never be 
an object compared with the high importance of consulting, 
on all occasions, the religious opinions and civil usages of 
the natives."J 


Objections to the repeal of the Pilgrim Tax System obvi- 
ated — concluding appeal. 

As the anomalous nature of the system under consi- 
deration has excited the attention of many highly respect- 
able Gentlemen, both in England and India, it may be pre- 
sumed that various objections to its abolition must exist 
among those who possess the power of performing this 
important service for the interests of humanity and religion 
in Hindostan. 

* Par. Papers, May 12th, 1813. Extract of a Letter from W. Ram- 
say, Esq., Sec. to the Hon. Court of Directors, to G. Holford, Esq., Sec, 
to the Right Hon. the Board of Commissioners for India, Feb. 1809. 

t Par. Papers^ p. 19. J p. 45. 

286 India's Criea to 

Tha Bight Hon. the Board of GonunisMBers^ in the 
paragraph last quoted, proposes a coramon objectkm to the 
repeal of the Pilgrim Tax : — '' Both the taxes above men- 
tioned (those levied at Juggernaut and Allahabad) having 
been established during the Nawaub and Mahraita Go^ 
vemmemUj there does not appear to be any substantial ob" 
jection to the continuance of those duties, under proper 
rules for their collection J* 

Id obviating this objectiony the Author is happy in being 
able to use the language of the Hon. Court of Directors, 
to the Right Hon« the Board of Commissioners, in their 
correspondence relative to British superintendence of the 
temple of Juggernaut. *' It is not our opinion, whatever 
the example of preceding Governments may have been, 
that the British Government ought to tax the Hindoos 
purely on a religious account ; for instance, to make them 
pay merely for access to any of their places of devotion. 
We approve of the suggestion of the Board of Jlevenue, 
June 1806, to confine the interference of Government at 
Juggernaut to the levy of a duty on pilgrims, in like man- 
ner as is done at Gya and Allahabad ; but the quantum of 
the tax ought to be fully sufficient to defray the expense 
incurred by Government for the establishment which it 
shall maintain at Juggernaut. With regard to imposing 
a tax upon the Hindoos for admission to a reUgious 
privilege, when the imposers believed, as the Hindoo 
Government did, diat the privilege was a real good, it 
was, on their principles, for them to put a price upon it ; 
but, where the Oovernment know the supposed privilege to 
be a delusion^ the Court must question the propriety of its 
continuing the practice^ though it may be ancient ; that 
reason not having been deemed by our Government, in 
other instances, sufficient to sanction customs repugnant to 
the principles of justice. And, with respect to the dis- 
bursing out of the Public Treasury any thing towards the 
support of religious establishments, Hindoo or Mahomedan, 
beyond what their own endowments furnish, the Court 
cannot but deem the principle objectionable, and the prac* 
tice to be preferred which has lately been adopted by the 
Madras Government, who have determined not to receive 
into their hands the funds belonging to such institutions, 
nor to be concerned in the expenditure of them.'** This 
reasoning appears very conclusive ; and, when it is known 

* Par. Papers, May 1813, p. 17. 

BrUiak Humamty. 987 

lliat the Hindoos argue the digni^ and even the ditkiky of 
JttggenMut from the attention of the British Government 
to bis establishment, does not the impropriety of a Christian 
Government collecting a tax on the worshippers of a block of 
wood» irresistibly strike every intelligent and ingenuous mind i 
The following incident shows that some of the Hindoos 
consider the establishment of the Pilgrim Tax by the 
British, and its consequent support of Juggemant, as a 

firoof of the Idol's interposition. The author's pundit re- 
ated to him that '' Juggernaut appeared in a dream to the 
General Sahab, as he lay upon his couch, and said to him, 
^ Why have not you given me my konor (food)t as I used to 
have ? If you do not give it, I will punish you.' The 
General was afraid, and gave orders that Juggernaut should 
have food set before him as formerly." 

Another objection to the repeal of this system is, its sup-- 
posed protection of the pilgrims from oppression. This 
was Mr. Udny's reason for adopting some kind of police 
establishment at Juggernaut's temple; as this gentleman 
expressed it, '' to secure the pilgrims against every thing of 
a vexatious nature from the extortion and oppression of 
the officers of the temple." But is it possible to /prevent 
the priests of idolatrous establishments from making a gain 
of their office? The present premium to the pilgrim 
hunters, being secured by Government, is claimed to its 
full amount; and, in addition to it, other demands are 
made upon the worshippers in the temple and at various 
places in the town : — " all the resources of superstition and 
priestcraft are brought into active operation; and every 
offering, from a sweetmeat to a lack of rupees, is grasped 
by the officiating Brabmuns with the most importunate ra- 
pacity.""*^ At Juggernaut, it is said, the last act of worship 
(without which the whole pilgrimage is void) is performed 
under a tree in the enclosure of the temple, and, before the 
pilgrims are allowed to do this, certain sums are exacted 
from them according to the cupidity of the priests. Pro- 
missory notes are given at Gya, and pilgrims in general 
evidently lie at the mercy of their religious guides. 

An extract from a communication of a correspondent 
in Orissa, dated Ganjam, August, 1S26, shows that no sys- 
tem can be adopted to protect Hindoo pilgrims from op- 

♦ See Ham. Hind. vol. ii. pp. 53, 647. 

388 India's Cries to 

premon: — "Talking about Jaggemant, a man from ilnr 
country asked the question so common in another place : — 
* Why the Company had any thing to do with Juggernaut 
if his worship was wrong ? And I said, as I edways do 
on such occasions, that the Company did wrong. One of 
them [told me that he had been to Juggernaut a few days 
ago ; that his personal expenses on the road were two rupees. 
The tax was two rupees, six annas ; two rupees went for 
food for the blocks (idols) ; three rupees were taken by the 
pundas, besides two pice here and two pice there in differ- 
ent parts of the temple. A man in another place told me 
that he did not pay the tax (pretending to be very poor) ; 
and that his last journey cost him about five rupees : the 
expenses he said differed according to peopWs circumr 
stances, for the same journey would cost ^omeffty rupees. 
I inquired how the pundas knew what to expect, and he 
replied, some of them would come and stay two or three 
months in such a place as Ganjam, by which means they 
become acquainted with their circumstances." 

The following facts may afford a specimen of the conduct 
of the immediate attendants of idols. " Krishnoo Vusoo 
gave to the temple of Juggernaut (near Serampore) an 
immense car, which could not cost less than 4 or 5000 
rupees. He also added an allowance of six rupees a 
day for the expenses of the worship of this idol. Goum 
Mullick, a goldsmith of Calcutta (who gave the interest of 
his mother's weight in gold to different temples ! ) added 
six rupees more to the daily offerings of this temple. These 
two benefactors, perceiving that the Brahmims of the tern- 
plcy instead of expending these sums in the offerings to 
the god and in alms to strangers^ applied the greater part 
of it to their private use, reduced the six rupees to one 
rupee four annas a day. To extort more money from 
the donors, the Brahmuns at two succeeding festivals pre- 
vented the car proceeding to an adjoining temple, in which 
the donors were interested, pretending that the god was 
angry with them for their parsimony and would not go !" * 

The late Bishop Heber, visiting two temples of Seeb, 
gave a rupee to two Brahmuns who had shown them to 
him, and observes, — " I thought one rupee was enough 
between them, and told the priests that they were to divide 

* Ward's View of the Hindoos. Vol. ii. Intro. 

British Humanity. 389 

it. No sooner, however, had it touched the threshold, than 
the two old men began scrambling for it in a most inde- 
corous manner, abusing each otner, spitting, stamping, 
clapping their hands, and doing every tiling but striking; 
the one insisting that it belonged to him whose threshold it 
had touched ; the other urging the known intentions of the 
donor. I tried to pacify them, but found it of no use, 
and left them in the midst of the fray." — Jour. vol. i. p. 

A Calcutta Paper, in Oct. 1822, contained the following 
relation: — ''Robbery at Juggernaut. — Juggernaut has 
been* in great commotion, and I suspect some of the fol- 
lowers of Juggernaut will be staggered in their faith. Thb 
morning, when the pundas went in to visit the idols, they 
found all the silver ornaments gone, to the amount of 5000 
rupees. They say none of the doors had been forced. All 
the inside doors are locked, and the keys lodged with the 
head punda and several chokedars in the compound : the 
outside doors are likewise locked, and the keys lodged ^th 
the punda ; and a sepoy sentry at each outside, as they are 
not allowed to go in dressed in their uniforms, or have any 
charge of what is inside. The Rajah and Collector's offi- 
cers have had a meeting, and confined upwards of twenty 
attendants of the idol. On asking the sepoys what they 
they thought of it, they laughing replied, ' Thakoor must 
have robbed himself (that is allowed some one), as he 
would have struck a person blind who offered to take away 
ornaments of his, or his sister, or his brother!' It is a most 
curious circumstance altogether ; for no one goes in but 
accompanied by pundas, and all the sepoys seem to say 
some of them must be the rogues. The Jacks do not seem 
to have much veneration for Juggernaut, as they seem to 
joke at the idea of his being robbed.''* 

A third objection to taking off the tax, and a vindication 
of its propriety, is, to use Mr. Harington's words in his 
** Analysis," — " The Court of Directors (in a letter dated 
Oct. 1814) intimate that they do not consider the ta^ 
on pilgrims a source of revenue^ but merely a^ a fund for 
keeping the temple in repair. The Vice President in 
Council, adverting to the probability of the net receipts ex- 
ceeding the amount required for the repairs of the edifice, 

* Asi. Jour. July, 1823. The author has seen the thief in the jail at 


290 India s Cries to 

directed that the surplus should be applied, — to the repairs 
of the temple and other local purposes ; the completion 
and repair of a public road from the vicinity of Calcutta 
to Juggernaut Pooree, commenced on a donation for this 
purpose by the late Raja Sookmoy Roy ; and to any otiier 
purpose connected with the temple of Juggernaut.'^ 

To this statement Colonel Phipps adverts in his account 
of Juggernaut. — ** In the year 1814 the Court of Di- 
rectors declared that 'they did not consider the tax on 
pilgrims as a source of revenue.' There is, however, some 
inconsistency in this : for what purpose is this tax levied 'i* 
Is it intended as a fund to encourage idolatry ? • The 
truth is, a small part, one fourth, or one third,f is appro- 
priated to purchase the holyfood, and to defray the other 
expenses of the temple, but the remainder goes into 
the Treasury. It is sometimes said that the surplus is em- 
ployed for making a new road in the District. But nothing 
can be more self-evident than the fact that the Govern- 
ment must consider a good military road, connecting the 
Madras Provinces with those of Bengal, as a measure of 
primary importance, and which could not fail to be attended 
to, if there had never been a temple at Juggernaut Pooree. 
In 1810 Raja Sookmoy Roy offered to contribute 150,000 
rupees towards making a good road to Juggernaut, to be 
designated by his name. This very liberal offer was ac- 
cepted, and the road is now constructing ; but this contri- 
bution would have been a sufficient inducement to undertake 
any public road, much more one so much wanted, if the 
Pilgrim Tax had never been thought of.'' The proceeds 
of the tax at 6ya and Allahabad are, with some small de- 
ductions, put into the public treasury. The gross col- 

* The Par. Papers, May, 1813, respecting Juggernaut, show that^am 
was a principal object of establishing the Pilgrim Tax. The Regu- 
lations were altered occasionally for the purpose (p. 48, 51, &c.). Sa- 
tisfaction is expressed at the increase of pilgrims and produce of tax 
levied. To make but one extract, " The Governor General in Council 
has observed with satisfaction the increase of revenue stated to have been 
obtained at the present Jattra/' Aug. 1809. (See pages 66, 68, 74, 81). 
Strenuous efforts are made to prevent pilgrims avoiding the tax. An 
expenditure of 10,000 rupees was authorized in 1812 for the construction 
of a wall, " for the purpose of preventing the pilgrims from forcing their 
way to the temple." p. 20. See also p. 39, 53, 73. — ^Auth. 

-f This must refer to the seasons when the pilgrims are numerous. 
Some years the expense of the establishment nearly equals the proceeds 
of the tax. 

British Humanity, 291 

lections at Gya in 1816—16 were 229,806 rupees, de- 
ductions (including 26,000 rupees to a native Rajah) 
46,929, net receipts 182,876 rupees. At Allahabad, the 
same year, the gross collections were 79,779 rupees ; de- 
duct charges and commission, 6726 ; net receipts 78,063 
rupees. It is devoutly to be wished that when the in- 
jurious tendency of this system, in perpetuating superstition 
and misery is known, it may be promptly abolished. 

The most common and plausible objection to the repeal 
of this system is, the supposed increase of pilgrims that 
would result from it. 

Dr. Buchanan, in his letter to the Honourable Court re- 
specting Juggernaut, 1813, in reply to C. Buller, Esq., 
M. P., observes, ** Mr. Buller would maintain the proposi^ 
tion that the imposition of the tax diminishes the number 
of pilgrims ; but the events of the last year render this pro-* 
position very questionable. Mr. B. would place the policy 
of the tax on a new ground^ namely, 'the diminution of 
the number of pilgrims, and the consequent prevention 
of famine and death.' Unhappily for this argument, it 
is a well-known fact that, while the temple was under 
the native dominion, when the tax on admission was higher 
than it is now, and when a discipline was observed among 
the people which we should not think right to exert, the 
concourse of pilgrims was yet immense ; in peaceable times 
incredibly great; and the consequent evUs were in the 
necessary proportions.*'* 

" It has been thought by some," says Colonel Phipps, 
** that the tax which is levied on pilgrims would deter many 
from undertakmg such a perilous journey ; but it is perhaps 
inherent in any plan to obtain a revenue, from such a source, 
that steps will be gradually taken to render the tax more 
productive ; and, however it may be disguised, it is obvious 
that this can only be done by increasing the number of pil- 
grims, or, in other words, by fostering and encouraging the, 
. superstition so as to render it more popular." In 1804 and 
1806 the English Government levied no tax, the priests 
made every exertion to profit by this unexpected state of 
affairs, and the attendance of pilgrims was very great ; the 
loss of lives, it is said, was very considerable, and there can 
be little doubt that something like a famine must have pre- 
vailed. On these circumstances Colonel P remarks,' — 

* Buchaoan's Apology for Christianity in India, p. 35. 


292 Judia's Cries to 

" This amaziog number of pilgrims had evidently arisen 
from circumstances not likely to occur again ; and it is pro* 
bable that, if Government had persevered in avoiding all 
interference, the novelty and great attraction would soon 
have worn off^ especially if the pilgrims had been protected 
from the rapacity of the priests ; the trade of pilgrim hunters 
would have been unprofitable, and no man woidd have felt 
any inclination to employ hundreds of agents to entice 
Hindoos to undertake such pilgrimage.'"*^ 

** The interference of a Christian Government, in the 
worship of an idol temple, has unhappily increa^sed the fame 
of the Idol^and the scenes of death which inevitably follow 
t/te anrnial pilgrimage. A British Grovemment levying 
any tojs on access to a temple^ or a place the sanctity of 
which is built wholly on opinion, must inevitably tend to 
raise the fame of these pluces of imagined sanctity, and 
increase the crowd of visitors, unless it be sufficiently 
heavy to operate as a prohibition. While, to a rich Hindoo, 
ten rupees is a small sum when paid to obtain that sight of 
his god which is to obliterate the transgressions of a whole 
life ; two rupees to a poor man, who has made up his 
mind to a two months' journey, only enhances the merit of 
it by addina to its difficulty. It by no means renders it 
impracticable ; although to pay any thing for a sight of 
their god, to any one except to those who seal to them the 
unknown benefits of this act, they deem a species of re- 
ligious oppression, which they had no right to expect from 
Christians, whatever they suffered under the Mussulman 

The injurious tendency of the British Regulations rela« 
tive to tJbe Suttee in India has been acknowledged by 
many of the magistrates ; and is not British superintend- 
ence of the temple of Juggernaut equally pernicious ? 
" The official attenda/nce of the darogah stamps every re-- 
gular Suttee tvith the sanction of Goveimment ; and I 
must humbly submit that authorizing a practice is not 
the way to effect its gradual abolitionJ*^X '* 1^^^ police 
officers are ordered to interfere for the purpose of ascer* 
taing that the ceremony is performed in conformity with 
the rules of the shastras, and in that event to allow its 

* Mis. Reg. 1824, p 578—581. See also Ham. Hind. Vol. i. p. 28- 
t Friend of India, 1 825, p. 270. J W. Ewer, Esq., Act. Sup. of Police* 
Calcutta, Nov. 1818, Par. Papers, on Suttees, 1821. p. 229. 

British Humaniiy. 298 

completion. Uiit is granting the authority of Government 
for the burfiing of widows; and it can scarcely be a mat- 
ter of astonishment that the number ofsa^crifices should be 
doubled t when the sanction of the ruling power is added to 
the recommendation of the shastra.^^^ " It can hardly be 
doubted but that the necessary presence of the police 
officers of Government, at these immolations, stamps on 
them the character of strict legality^ and seems to afford 
that degree of countenance on the part of Government 
which must produce an evil effect. "f " If this mode of 
issuing orders under the sanction of Government to regu- 
late Suttees be continued, the practice tmll take such deep 
root, under the authority of the supreme power^ that it 
tmll be impossible to eradicate it. The usage will be 
much more likely to fall into disuse under a total neglect 
on the part of Government."! The Honourable Court of 
Directors, in a letter to the Governor General in Council, 
dated June, 1823, declare, "To us it appears very doubtful 
(and we are confirmed in this doubt by respectable authority) 
whether the measures which have been already taken have 
not tended rather to increase than to diminish the fre- 
quency of the practice" (Suttees).§ Of these Regulations 
the Asiatic Journal justly remarks, ** It is generally ad- 
mitted that the Regulations hitherto adopted by Govern- 
ment, especially those by which a magistrate's order is 
required for the ceremony, and a police officer is directed 
to be present to prevent unfair practices, have really done 
more harm than good, by giving a sort of countenance and 
sanction to the custom. A precisely similar effect has 
attended the imposition of a tax on the ceremonies of Jug- 
gernaut : the votaries conceive they act under Government 
sanction.'^ll From a parity of reasoning, it appears natural 
that British regulation of the temple Juggernaut, and con- 
nexion with otiier temples in India, must tend to promote 
their celebrity, and the evils connected with them. 

A Missionary in Orissa writes, in May, 1827 : — " The 
sound of the hammer and axe about the car wood excited 
my indignation, particularly as tiie workmen are paid by 

* H. Oakley, Esq., Hooghly, Dec. 1818, Par. Papers as above, p. 
236. t J- F. Petty, Esq., Southern Concan, Par. Papers, p. 218. 

X C. Smith, Esq., Par. Papers, 1825, p. 148. 
§ Par. Papers, June, 1824, p. 45. 
^ Asi, Jour. March, 1827, p. 358. 

294 India's Crie^ i^ 

our govemmenty and professed Christians are tbeir super- 
intendents and exhort them to make haste (juUke turroj. 

— Called upon Mr. H ; he intended to exert himself 

to abolish the Tax, but the perusal of correspondence^ &c.» 
of the Court of Directors, determined him otherwise; and 
it seems — we must still go on providing food^ clothes^ cars, 
missionaries, servants, and Christian superintendence, for 
the detestcMe idol! I From some conversation with a 
long resident in Pooree, and a very creditable native, I as- 
certained that^ within his knowledge, the population of 
Pooree has increased more than two-fold! I asked him 
the occasion of this increase, he answered, nmder our ad- 
ministration Juggernaut had become popular, and so more 
people had taken up their residence there I He moreover 
added, AS OUR grbdit sounded through the four 

HIM TO HIMSELF ! He concluded his speech by exhorting 
me to regard their books, and become one with them P 

The decay of idolatry, consequent upon the progress of 
Christianity in the south of India, is very evident : — "There 
is now (July 11, 1825) a great idolatrous feast at Tinne- 
velley. This day the car of the idol was to be drawn 
through several streets of the town. Hie Collectors had 
refused to allow the Peons to force the people to come 
and draw the car a* formerly. When they were sent 
into the villages to bring the people together, they used 
to take bribes from many who did not wish to draw the 
car ; this year, this source of income was cut off: and the 
people were far from coming voluntarily. Some rich na- 
tives, the principal patrons of these feasts, from which they 
derive emoluments, induced those people who were de- 
pendent upon them to come ; but, as they were not sufficient 
to move the car, two Modeliars and a principal Goorob seized 
the rope with a loud hurrah, which induced many to imitate 
their example. The ceremony was not begun at daybreak 
as usual ; but soon after midnight : and they drew the ear 
so quickly, that, instead of spending in this toil a day or a 
day and a half, as in former years, they finished it by sun- 
rise! It being known that the Collector had taken the 
above step, considerably fewer people came froiA the coun- 
try to attend the feast than at any former period ; and the 
patrons of idolatry, instead of forcing the carpenters and 
others to do the work gratis, were obliged to pay them 
this year more than their usual days hire. Some en- 

BritUh Humanity. 295 

deaiDOiired to bide their disappointment, and to remove the 
dishonoar thrown upon their god, by saying the idol had 
shown its power by finishing its tour this year in a few 
hours, which had formerly taken a day or more I Many 
said, before the drawing of the car, if the god wonld not 
move it without human help, they would not acknowledge 
him any more as a divinity."* ** The Brahmuns (says 
Bishop Heber), being limited to voltmtary votaries^ have 
now very hard work to speed the ponderous wheels of 
Balee and Siva through the deep lanes of this fertile 
country. This is, however, still the most favoured land 
of Brahmunism, and the temples are larger and more beau* 
tiful than any which I have seen in Northern India.^f 

The probable increase of pilgrims, on the repeal of the 
present system, would be temporary. Let the premium for 
collecting them be discontinued, and their number would 
certainly decrease. This is Mr. Harington's opinion re- 
specting the travelling priests of Gya, of whom he says, 
speaking of the pilgrims, " Who but for them would prO' 
bably never have visited Gya'* This position — the natural 
influence of certain or uncertain gain inducing the pundas 
to seek pilgrims or not, is so evident, that it is presumed it 
must have been overlooked in the supposition that the re- 
peal of the Pilgrim Tax would increase the horrors of pil- 
grimage. The existence and powerful influence of the 
premium for collecting pilgrims appears to be but little 
known, and it is presumed that, as soon as its injurious ten- 
dency is recognized, it will be discontinued. Supposing 
the number of pilgrims to be increased at Juggernaut, Gya, 
Allahabad, Sec, on the British retiring from these idolatrous 
establishments (a very improbable circumstance, when so 
much of their present eclat would vanish), the poverty and 
misery of the people would not be so great; the tax must 
tend to beggar them, and sickness and death follow hard 
upon the heels of poverty. It is easy to confer this boon 
relative to the temples in India — '* Let them alone :" yet it 
is very important. They cannot stand opposed by the 
progress of science and true religion, and shall Britain defile 
her hand by supporting their tottering ark ? ** Will ye plead 
for Baal ? will ye save him ? If he be a god, let him plead 
for himself." Jud. vi. 31. 

* Miss. Reg. Nov. 1827, p. 559, see p. 564. 

t Trichinopoly,April 1, 1826. Asi. Joiir. April, 1827, p. 488. 

296 India's Cries to 

In this concladiDg appeal, the author feeb tremiilously 
alive to its issae. So deeply is he oonvinced^ from ocular 
demonstration at the temple of Jn^ernaat, of the evils of 
the Pilgrim Tax System, that mi^t he be the unknown, 
yet honoured means of its repeal, he should rejoice on that 
account alone^ to the latest period of his life, that he had 
been to India. How shall this service for the interests of 
humanity and Christianity be accomplished ? Could it be 
obtained prostrate at the feet of the executive body of the 
Honourable East India Company, it should soon be done. 
But as Zeno said to Crates, *' there is no retaining a philo* 
sopher but by his ears." Statesmen and Legislators must 
be convinced of the propriety of measures, strenuously 
urged for their adoption. This has been attempted in a 
temperate and respectful manner. Let the prominent fea- 
tures of the system under consideration be calmly con- 
sidered, and the successful issue of this appeal appears 

The miseries of superstition apparent in the pilgrim- 
ages of India are most appalling. Probably half a million 
of people annually visit Juggernaut, 6ya, and Allahabad 
(and in some years a much greater number), but how many 
hundreds, not to say thousands, of these unhappy people 
never survive the horrors of pilgrimage ! The Author has 
seen the pilgrims of Juggernaut lie upon the sands of the 
river at Cuttack, a prey to dogs and birds. Like a pesti- 
lential stream the pilgrims carry disease, especially the 
cholera morbus, through the province of Orissa ; and thus 
misery and death mark their course.* Can it be for the 
gain of this unhallowed system that it is continued ? The 
annual revenue of Cuttack is stated by A. Stirling, Esq., 
to be 3,000,000 rupees, and the net revenue of Juggei> 
iiauf s temple to the British Government, in 1815-16, was 
11,147 rupees. For other years see tne summary from 
Poynder's Speech (p. 227). In what view does such a sum 
appear when its source and the misery and deaitb occa- 
sioned by its collection are considered? ** We are fully 
convinced," says the Editor of the *' Friend of India,** 

* "The population of Ramnad (about 120 miles from Cape Comorin) 
was, in 1812, 13,481, of which number 2307 died of a ieyer between 
Dec. 1812 and Feb. 1813. This great mortality was by some attributed 
to an infectious fever introduced by the pilgrims of Ramisseram: by 
others to the remote and immediate effects of scarcity or rather famine." 
Hamilton's Hind. vol. ii. p. 475. Pilgrimages are a curse to a countty. 

BritUh Humanity. 297 

*^ when all the effects arising from the close contact vith 
this abominable idolatry, into which a misguided humanity 
has led the British nation^ are thoroughly weighed ; no one 
who reflects that the surplus of the tax from year to year 
applied to the completion of the great road in Orissa (the 
only public object to which this surplus is appropriated), 
on the yearly average, can scarcely double in the number 
of rupees it contains that of our Hindoo fellow-subjects 
who perish annually in the course of the journey ^ can re- 
frain from wishing that Britain were completely disengaged 
from this scene of idolatry, deception, and death." 

Consider the character of this system. Hamilton, in 
his account of Travaucore, states, among the items of re- 
venue, a tax on Christian festivals J* How do Christians 
approve of a Hindoo Bajah taxing their '' solemn assem* 
blies?" Can it be the love of wealth that perpetuates this 
system in India ? The Calcutta John Bull spurns such an 
idea : — ** We cannot for a moment imagine, as the India 
Gazette appears to do, that the practice is kept up at Jug- 
gernaut merely because it is a source of revenue to Govern- 
ment. It is much too scanty to be worth the establishmettt 
necessary for the collection ofixLX on pilgrims ; and, were it 
ever so prolific^ we do not believe that, on this consideration 
alone, such an oflSee as Collector of the Pilgrim Tax would 
be one month in the ' Catalogue of Civil appointments. 
On this point we think two opinions cannot be entertained ; 
for surely, in a Christian Government, having the means 
and satisfied of the policy of drawing its revenue from no 
source that would perpetuate the horrors and cruelties of 
superstition^ the tax now collected at Juggernaut would 
not continue another day." (Oct. 20th, 1825). Why is 
this system continued ? At Juggernaut it is stated to be to 
keep the temple in repair and make a good road to it. 
But this lies open fo great opprobrium. Why tax is levied 
at Gya and AUsrhabad is not stated in Mr* Harington's, 
'^ Analysis ;'' except it be that it was practised by the pre- 
ceding Government. But can Britain in this manner fol- 
low the steps of the Mahrattas and Mahometans with con- 
sistency ? The most common reason for the Pilgrim Tax 
is, its supposed discouragement of pilgrimages. But ** On 
the very face of the subject it might have been seen that, 
unless such a tax by its weight amounted to an entire pro^ 

♦ Vol. ii. p, 310. 

298 India's CrMto 

kibiiiofh it must operate, as all opposition to religious opi- 
nions has dpnOy to bring its object into higher and more 
extended notice. That this would be the case vas the na- 
tural consequence. Among the Hindoos the British nation 
necessarily sustains a far higher character for knowledge 
than the Mahometan dynasty. Hence the moment they 
thought this imaginary benefit worth taxing, it acquired a 
value in the eyes of tibe Hindoos which it never possessed 

The conduct of the British Grovemment in India t^ 
wards Christianity has been censurable. ''There are 
now/' says the lat^ Bishop Heber, ** in the south of India 
about 200 Protestant congregations, the numbers of which 
have been vaguely stated at 40,000. I doubt whether they 
reach 15,000, but even this, all things considered, is a great 
number. The Roman Catholics are considerably more nu- 
merous, but belong to a lower caste:of Indians, and, in point 
of knowledge and morality, are said to be extremely infe- 
rior. This inferiority, as injuring the general character c^ 
the religion, is alleged to have occasioned the very unfa- 
vourable eye with which all native Christians have been 
regarded in the Madras Government. If they have not 
actually been persecuted, they have been ''disqualified,'' 
totidem verbis, from holding any place or appointment, 
whether civil or military, under the Company's Govern- 
ment; and that in districts where, while the native Princes 
remained in power. Christians were employed without 
scruple. Nor is this the worst ; many peasants have been 
beaten, by authority of (he English magiatrskte^or refusing, 
on a religious account, to assist in drawing the chariots of 
the idols on festival days ! I It is only the present Col- 
lector of Tanjore who has withheld the assistance of the 
secular arm from the Brahmuns on this occasion !'' In the 
last letter which the Bishop wrote to his wife, he says, 
'• Will it be believed that, while tl).e Bajah kept his domi- 
nions (Tanjore), Christians were eligible to all the difierent 
offices of state — while now there is an order of Govern- 
ment against their being admitted to any employment /f 

• Friend of India, Oct. 1825, p. 278. 

t '* The Zillah Judges shall recommend to the Provincial Courts the 
persons whom they may deem fit for the office of District Moonsif; but 
no person shall be authorized to officiate as District Moonsif, without the 
previous sanction of the Provincial Court, nor unless he be of the 
Hindoo or Mahomedan persuasion/' Reg. of Madras Government. 

British Humanity, 290 

Surely we are in matters of religion the most lukewarm 
and cowardly people on the face of the earth ! I mean 
to make this and some other things which I have seen a 
matter of formal representation to all the three Govern* 
ments of India, and to the Board of Control/'* This hos- 
tility to Christianity under the Madras Presidency, and the 
countenance and direct support of idolatry, not to say 
amassing wealth from it, at Juggernaut, Gva, and Allahabad, 
are very inconsistent in a Christian (Government. The 
God of nations abhors idolatry, and he has said — ** If ye 
walk contrary to me, I will walk contrary to you" 

British connexion with idolatrous establishments in 
India must tend to perpetuate them. Is it desirable to 
see India for generations to come ^'bowing before her 
idols — ^trembling at the phantoms of her own imagination, 
and in the undisturbed possession of a religion of * polli»" 
tion and blood ?'"t But shall Britain be seen supporting 
these temples ; having presented Sirkaree BhoyCy or- Go* 
vemment offering, to Juggernaut ; giving a premium to pil- 
grim hunters ; selling licenses to enter the temple of Jug- 
gernaut, and amassing wealth, cursed with the blood of the 
deluded pilgrims? Forbid it Heaven 1 Yet at this day 
the sun in India beholds this incongruous, inhuman, and 
unchristian procedure. These things should be known and 
felt. And can they be known without being abolished ? 

The impropriety of this system has of^ late excited 
much attention. The Marquis Wellesley, it is well known, 
would not consent to the taxation of Juggernaut's temple. 
In the succeeding administration Mr. IJndy, as has been 
seen, objected to perpetuating this system of gross idolatry 
by legislative enactments. Dr. Buchanan, who visited the 
temple of Juggernaut in 1806, spoke in very strong terms 
of the anti-christian nature of this system. Before the 
author was compelled, by indisposition, to leave India in 
Nov. 1825, the subject had excited much attention there : 
and in a letter received from the Rev. T. Thomason, Aug. 
1827, ho says, •' Nothing was done in the matter of Jug- 
gernaut when I left Calcutta. Certain discussions took 
place in Council, which terminated in no particular result : 
nothing was puUished, and the written documents could 
only be seen by calling at the India House and obtaining 

* Journ., vol. ii. pp. 462—465. 

t Grimshawe*s Appeal in behalf of Hindoo Widows, p. 27. 

300 IndiaU Cries to 

the perusal of them from the Secretary.'* Surely these 
discussions will be renewed, and this injurious system abo« 
lished. Britain is doubtless a benefactor to India ; let her 
ever act becoming her high character and responsibility to 
Him " Who ruleth in the kingdom of men, and giveth 
it to whomsoever he will.'' 

The measure here advocated is of a popular nature. 
** In wiping away for ever this foul reproach from the Bri- 
tish name there is every thing encoura^ng, relative to the 
natives. Nothing could be more popular among them than 
the removal of this unproductive tax on their sacred places. 
While they submit to it, they by no means approve of it. 
Let the tax be abolished and this scene of delusion left to 
its own authors for support ; and, while the British name in 
India is for ever freed from one of its deepest stains, this 
mass of idolatry and deceit will in time sink with its own 
weight I We are well aware that nothing delays this step 
so much as the humane but groundless fear that this would 
increase the evil, by causing a greater influx of pilgrims. 
This fear, however, is without foundation. The influx 
might be greater the first year or two, but, in the present 
state of increasing light, this influx could not long continue. 
There can be no doubt that the removal of this tax would 
raise the British name among the natives of India. And 
that a measure which will remove a load of reproach 
unmerited, only because it was unforeseen, and give such 
general satisfaction to our Hindoo fellow-subjects, will not 
ultimately be adopted, with regret that it was not done 
sooner, we cannot bring ourselves to believe."* 

The following letter from a Hindoo to a missionary in 
Orissa appears replete with important sentiments and 
deserving attention. — 

A letter from Sundra das Bargee, to Christians in general. 

" O ye ftivoured people, who are blessed with the Divine Spirit, ye 
have existed 1800 years, and what have ye done for this dark world ? 
I am a Hindoo 9oistub, poor and destitute, but ask of you neither land, 
nor elephants, nor horses, nor n;ioney, nor palanqueens, nor doolies: but 
I ask, what can be done to learn the people to obey the laws of God ? 
O holy people this I ask ! 

" Pooree is the heaven of the Hindoos ; yet there the practices of 
mankind are, adultery, theft, lies, murder of the innocent, whoremongery, 
eating fish with maha presaud, disobedience and abuse of parents, defil- 

Friend of India, Oct. 1825, p. 2T8, 284. 

British Humanity. 301 

ing of mothers, defiling of sisters, defiling of daughters ! Sneh it the re- 
ligion of Juggernaut / For these crimes the people are visited vrith 
rheumatisms, swelling of the legs, leprosy, scrofulas, grievous sores, and 
acute pains, blindness, lameness, and such like ! Such are the servants 
of Juggernaut ! 

" And now, holy people, hear the names of the gods of this people — 
gods which the people, when they have eaten, rise and worship — these 
are gold, silver, brass, cedar, stone, wood, trees, fire, water, &c., these 
be the names of their gods, and these be their servants. To serve these 
gods they burden themselves with expensive ceremonies and costly rites ; 
Siey afilict their bodies and their souls with pilgrimages and many cruel- 
ties. The Brahmuns no longer observe the Vades, nor the devotees 
keep mercy. O ye Christian Rulers, ye feed the rich, the proud, and 
the great; while the poor and destitute are dying in wantl O good 
fathers ! good children ! good people ! hear the cries of the poor, O good 
people ! 

** The thief is judged, the murderer is judged, the perjured is 
judged, and all the wicked are punished according to their crimes. A 
large army is kept in obedience to your orders ; but why are not the peo- 
ple made to obey the laws of God ? Ye are the seed of the good, ye keep 
God's word ; cause the subject to keep it. The Mahrattas were robbers, 
but they relieved the distressed. Europeans are faithful rulers, but in 
their Government falsehood abounds. Children, Fathers ! the fate of all 
in the four quarters is in your hands I O good people ! the subject has 
become wicked, having fallen into error, and in consequence get not 
food nor raiment. 

" Rulers are the example of the people. O good people teach them 
God's commandments by your example. If ye will do this, then it will 
be well ; if ye will not, then ye are stones to them. What more shall I 
write ? Do as ye will, still religion is true, religion is true, religion is 
true !" Cuttack, Nov, 1827. 

The author has cou versed with many upon the subject of 
this pamphlet ; and the circumstance of Britain supporting 
the dreadful superstition of Juggernaut, paying a premium 
to the collectors of pilgrims, and amassing wealth from ido- 
latry, to use the expressive language of Scripture, has made 
" the ears of every one that heareth it to tingle."* What 
he has seen and heard he feels it an imperious duty to make 
known. May the subject excite that attention which it so 
justly demands, among those who hold in their hands the 
destinies of the millions of India ! Let Britain stand at a 
becoming distance from idolatry ; let her '' shake her hands 

* The horrors of idolatry at the temple of Juggernaut are thus de- 
scribed by an eye-witness:—" The shades of evening are now prevailing; 
the sun is sinking in the western waters and leaving me in darkness. 
A feeling of deep horror, which I cannot suppress, steals across my mind, 
and irresistibly drives me away. The jackals are leaving their jungles 
and repairing hither for their nightly repast^I hear them cry at a dis- 
tance. The eagles are flitting to the neighbouring tree for the night. 

902 India's Cries to 

finom holding bribes," the gains of idols ; let her fedlhate 
the progress of Christianity in the East, till *' the Idols He 
shall utterly abolish*' and ** there shall be but one Lord and 
his name one." '' Thus India emancipated, through our 
instrumentality, from the yoke of a emel superstition, and 
admitted to a fellowship in the peace and hopes of the Gos- 
pel, will recognize in Britain, no longer a conqueror, to 
whom she is bound by the terror of our arms, but a benefac- 
tor indissolubly endeared by the triumphs of our mercy."* 

filled with the fleth of man. The dtn of idol pooja assails my ears from 
every direction, and the work of blasphemy commences. Farewell, ye 
mangled corpses I ye silent monitors I ye hare read me admonitions I 
shall not forget. But, ere I retire, I breathe a wish for my country — un- 
der who auipices such a $ysUm is tolerated and supported* By your sad 
fate^ myfellow-creatureSy may she he warned, led to repentancCy and wash 
herself fiom your blood ; and may her future conduct, regarding idolatry 
here, prove her sincerity/* p, 36. Lacey's Reflections at the Temple of 
Juggemaut,'in 1825. (Wightman and Co. London). 
* Grimshawe's Appeal on behalf of Hindoo Widows, p. 28. 




Origin^ nature^ atrocity^ and appalling scenes connected 
with the practice of composing the sick on the banks of the 
' Ganges. 

' The exposure of the sick on the banks of the Ganges 
has been termed Ghaut Murder. A Ghaut is a flight of 
steps to a river, and at these places the acts of cruelty to 
the sick, described in this book, are generally perpetrated. 
The origin of this practice is probably to be traced to the 
absurd notion that the river Ganges is a goddess, and that 
to die in sight of it is beneficial. A Correspondent, who 
has resided several years in India, writes upon this sub- 
ject: — **The origin of this practice is involved in great 
obscurity ; but one or all of the following reasons may be 
assigned for its continuance. The veneration paid to the 
rivers. The rivers of India, like the Euphrates and the 
Nile, annually overflow their banks. The inundation con- 
tinues for a considerable time, and covers the country; and 
its benefits are very numerous ; the fields are covered with 
verdure, the soil is enriched, and vegetation proceeds with 
rapidity. Hence has arisen that idolatrous worship which 
has been paid to them ; indeed the most extravagant and 
puerile rites are performed in the sultry plains of India,i^ in 
honour of rivers ; and the advantages supposed to arise 
from them are equally absurd. He that bathes in the 
morning, in the months of Magha, Voishakha, and Karteka, 

904 India's Cries to 

destroys the greatest sins. He who at the conj mictions of 
Narynnee bathes in silence, in the Koorootaya river, 
raises thirty millions of his ancestors to eternal bliss. 
The wish to get rid of a burthen is another reason. 
There is no public provision made for the old or infirm. 
AH who are past labour become immediately dependent 
upon their relatives ; and the consideration of the expense 
may possibly make them wish to rid themselves of an en- 
cumbrance ; especially when it can be done in a way 
which, instead of appearing dishonourable or any proof of 
want of affection, is rather considered an act of kindness. 
It may also be encouraged by the doctrine of fate, which 
has generally prevailed in the Heathen world. Their gods, 
the general dispensations of Providence, and their private 
affairs, are all considered under the control of the iron-hand of 
necessity or gloomy fate, which, while it showers down upon 
earth csJamities in abundance, cuts off every hope and every 
effort for the attainment of deliverance. Believing that 
every person's kopol (fate) is fixed by an unchangeable de- 
cree, tliey avoid using those means which a Being of infi- 
nite goodness has put into our hands for the recovery of the 

The nature of this cruel rite will best appear in the de- 
scriptions given of it by different writers, and eye-wit- 
nesses. " The Bengalee Hindoos," says Hamilton, " have 
generally a great terror of the dead, and will seldom ven- 
ture to inhabit a hut or a house where a person has died. 
This seems connected with their custom of exposing the 
sick to perish on the banks of rivers ; which tends to aggra- 
vate the last pangs of nature, and sometimes not ohlv acce- 
lerates death, but exhausts that strength which might pro- 
bably have enabled nature to overcome the disease. The 
practice also furnishes an opportunity of practising other 
horrid crimes.''* 

The late Rev. W. Ward, in his " View of the History, 
Literature, and Mythology of the Hindoos," states, ** Thou- 
sands, yea millions, of people, are annually drawn from 
their houses and peaceful labours, several times in the year, 
to visit different holy places, at great expense of time and 
money, spent in making offerings to the goddess (Gunga). 
Expensive journeys are undertaken by multitudes to obtain 
the water of this river, or to carry the sick» the dying, the 

* Description of Hindostan, vol. i. p. Ill, 

Britiih Humaniiy. 305 

dead, or the bones of the dead, to its banks.* 1V/$at the 
sick and dying suffer by being exposed to all kinds of 
weather in the open air on the banks of the river , and in 
being choked by the sacred waters in their last moments^ 
is beyond expression.^f '*A few years since a Rajah, 
living about 100 miles from Calcutta, sent for an EngKsh 
physician from that city. By the time that gentleman had 
arrived, his relations had brought the sick Rajah to the 
rirer-side, and in a short period, no doubt, would have 
killed him. The physician reproved them for their want of 
feeling, and ordered his patient to be caYried home, where, 
in a few days, he recovered. Before the physician took 
his leave, he made the Rajah promise to give nim the ear- 
liest information if he should be sick again. Soon after- 
wards, the disease having returned, he sent for his old friend ; 
but, before he could arrive, his relations had despatched 
him with the mud and water of the sacred stream ! The 
want of compassion and tenderness among the Hindoos 
towards the poor, the sick, and the dying, is so notorious, 
that European travellers are frequently filled with horror 
at the proofs oC their inhumanity, merely as they pass along 
the roads or navigate the rivers in this country.";]: 

Dr. Johns, in his Pamphlet entitled '' Facts and Opi- 
nions relative to the Burning of Widows, and other destruc- 
tive Customs in British India'' (Gale, London), refers to 
the practice of '* Exposing the Sick and Aged.'' "The 
Hindoo character is in many, essential points defective, and 
led by deep-rooted prejudices, and barbarous customs, to 
the commission of crimes which ought not to be sanctioned 
by any moral or religious code. How often is the aged 
Hindoo parent deemed an encumbrance and an unnecessary 
expense by his family ; and carried a living victim j devoted 
to die on the margin of the Ganges^ or some other holy 
stream : there his own children fill his mouth and nostrils 
with mud ; and, thus cutting off every prospect of reco^ 
very J they leave the author of their being to be carried 
away by the stream^ as food for alligators and vultures ! 
Although sanctioned by the Brahmuns, and perhaps some- 
times voluntary on the part of the aged victim, no religion 

* And yet " the broad stream sweeps by them guiltless of their im- 
piety, and unconscious of their homage." Heber's Journ., vol. ii. 
p. 297. AuTH. 

t Vol. i. p. 277. X Vol. iif, p. 295. 

a06 India's Cfies to 

should tolen^e such a sacrifice ; that it is not lal«^iiyfl yokin* 
tary we have many andeniable proofs. The fatal cdase- 
quence of not submittiog to this extraordinary yiaticiim, or 
of eluding its effect, by returning to his family in case of a 
respue or recovery , is so provided for, by die brahminical 
laws, that death is far more desirable than the continuanee 
of life on such terms. Many instancies might be produced 
to confirm this assertion : I shsdl recite what Captain Wil« 
liamson* in his * East India Vade jifecuati,' from more 
experience than myself, has recorded on thU subject* 
* Many Hindoos in their old age, or when seriously iU« are 
removed to the banks of the Ganges, whose waters are held 
sacred : and, when about to resign their breath, are taken 
to the edge of the river on their beds ; where a Brahmun 
attends to perform the religious ceremonies. No douht 
many, who might recover^ are thus consigned to premature 
death. The damp borders of the stream* with a -burning 
sup, rarely fail, however favourable the season may be, to 
plit a speedy termination to the sick person's aufieriugs ; but 
it has often happened that the attendants become tired by 
the delay the poor wretch makes in shaking off hb mortal 
coil, and, perhaps with the humane intenti<Mi of finiahing 
his pain, either place the bed at low- water mark, if the i^ot 
be within flow of the tide, or smear the dying miw with the 
sUme of the holy waters, and fill Us mouth with the pre* 
cious mud. When a persoa has been taken to the side 6{ 
the Ganges, or other substituted waters, undier the suppo* 
sition that he is dying, he is in the eye of the Hihdoo Haw 
dead; his property passes to his henr, or accordEung to his 
bequest ; and, in the event of a recovery, the powr fellow 
becomes an outcast. Not a soul, even of his own children, 
will eat with him, or afford him the least Accommodation ; 
if by chance they come in contact, ablution xaust follow. 
The wretched survivor firom that time .is held in abhorrence, 
and has no other resort but to associate bioiself in a village 
iidiabited by persons nnder similar circumstances. Tliere 
are but few such recep^des ; the largest and most conspi^o 
cuous is on the banks of the Smillah, wJbich passes near 
Sooksaugur, about forty miles north of Calcutta.' '^^ / 

The late Rev. D. Brown of Calcutta, speaking of sick 
persons who are left on the banks of the Ganges, says, — 
** They are swept away by the returning tide. Some, how- 

* Oriental Memoirs, vol. i. p. 220, 221, 

British HnH^nity. 307 

^^Tp escape; ftnd, as they can never be received* again by 
their fanulies, th^y sasociate with those who, like them, 
have escaped the jaws of death. There are two villages not 
Sax up the river Hooghly inhabited solely by these wretched 
fugitives. A geotlemaa told me, as he passed a place 
called Culna, a little above Calcutta, that he saw a set of 
Brahmuns pushing a youth, of about eighteen years of age, 
into the water ; and, as they were performing their work of 
suffocation with mud, he called on them to desist. They 
answered calmly, ' It is our custom. It is our custom. 
He cannot live ; he cannot live ; our god says he must die !'* 
The Rev. H. Townley, in his Address tu the Society of 
Friends on behalf of Missions, refers tp this custom, and 
«bbws its unsatirfabtory nature to support the mind of a 
Hindoo in the prospect of a future state. ** X have con« 
versed with a dying Hindoo on tlie banks of the Ganges, 
and the substance of his «»)nfessioa was — *' I have no hope 
of heaven from die circimistance of my dying near tfa^ 
sacred Ganges ; nor do I anticipate future happiness from 
the won^ip of the gods. I know of no i^oiode whereby I 
can be saved ; and I believe that afier deatii I shall be cast 
into hell as the pumshment of my. many sins !" To the 
same effect is the following pa&etic passage firom the late 
Rev. W. Ward, — " Look at the heathen by the side of th^ 
Ganges, calling upon their dying relations to repeat th^ 
names of Narayun, of Gunga, of Ram, and of a whole 
rabble of ffods ; pouring the waters of this river down tiie 
throat of the dying, exposing them in the agonies of death 
to the chfllijag damps by nigfall;, and to the scorching beams 
of the sun by day ; and l^ten to the ctries of the dying — 
* Tell me hot of woiks of merit, I have been committing 
nothing but sin. And now — where am I going? — What is 
there beyond this wretched existence? Am I going intp 
some reptile or SLome animal body; or shall T at oj:iGe 
plunge into some dreadful place of torment? I see the 
messengers of Yuma coming to seize me* Oh ! save me-r* 
save me ! O mother Gunga ^ve me a place. near ito;tbe0 ! 
Oh ! Ram ! Oh ! Narayun ! O my Gooroo (his spiritual 
guide) how dark and heavy the ofoud whteh envelopes me — 
is Ihere no certainty, no ray of li^t from any of the sfaastras 
to guide and comfort me in my departure ? Must I take 
the irrecoverable plunge to be seen no more V And, when 
they have seen and heard all this, let them look at the 
death of Krishna, the Christian^ ebnsoled by the addresses 


308 India's Cries io 

of his Christian brethren, by the hymns which they sing^ by 
the words of the everlasting Gospel which they repeat ; let 
them listen to the pleasant words which proceed from bis 
dying lips: ' My Saviour has sent his messenger for me» 
and I wish to go to him :' and then let them say whether the 
Gospel be a boon worth giving to the heathen." 

The Rev. W. Yates, in his Memoir of the late Rev. J. 
Chamberlain, missionary in India, describing what he wit* 
nessed while on the Ganges, remarks — *' At the Ghaut, or 
landing place, are great numbers of persons bathing and 
performing their morning ceremonies ; and among them a 
poor woman laid on a low bed, raised only a few inches 
above the ground, in dying circumstances, left exposed to 
the Mazing sun, totally unheeded by all around her, with a 
ydung man, her son, sitting behind her waiting, to appear- 
ance destitute of all anxiety, to see her breathe ber last." 
In the same Memoir an account is given of the death of a 
native Christian, and the condnct of his heathen friends. 
" We were informed that the relations of Seboo Roy, had 
made a great shradda for him, and buried him in the Hin- 
doo manner ; but I informed them he had believed in the 
Saviour, and that, when I last saw him, he said, — ^* They 
may persecute and reproach us, but we will rather lose our 
lives than forsake our Lord Jesus.' In the evening, on our 
return to Cutwa, we were accompanied byfour persons who 
attended upon the instructions of Seboo Koy, and who re* 
fated to us the following particulars: — ' Soon s^ter his 
return from Cutwa, he was taken ill of a cold and retching, 
and died on the second or third day. He requested that 
they would take him to Cutwa, saying, ^ If I do not go 
thither I shall never be well.' But his brother's son would 
not regard what he said. When they took him out to carry 
him to Gunfftty he said to them ; ' It is all to no purpose. 
I am perfectly sensible ; why mill you take me thither T 
He requested to be buried ; but they would not grant his 
request. They took him away and bnmed his corpse* 
After they had taken him out of his house he said nothing 
to any one. Those who used to meet with him on Sabbath 
days went to see him a few times during his illness, and he 
exhorted them not to forsake the assembling of themselves 
together, nor to cease publishing the glories of our Saviour. 
' I am going,' said he, ' but we shall soon see each other 
again ;' and with such sayings as these encouraged and com- 
forted them.' Seeboc Roy used to speak very favourably 

Briiish Humanity. 309 

of bis wife; and, when he died^ she' did not beat her fore- 
head and cry aloud, as is the custom in this country upon 
such occasions. Being asked why she did not, she 
answered, * What use is that? I sit and think of what he 
said to me r (p. 221.) 

The Rev. S. Sutton, late of Moorshedabad, in a letter 
to the Author upon the subject of this book, observes^ 
*' The following are a few well authenticated facts to esta- 
blish what I have advanced. — The late respected Mr. Ward 
of Serampore, recorded the following case in his diary in 
1813. ' On March 18tb, at nine o'clock in the mornii^y 
a sick man by the name of Beekenaut was brought by his 
relatives to the river side, and was laid on the wet sand in 
expectation of soon expiring. In this situation he remained^ 
exposed to the scorching rays of the sun, till about four 
P. M., when he was immersed up to the breast in the river, 
and in this position one of his relatives vociferated in his 
ears, ' Hurree ! Ram ! Krishna ! Ram !' After some time, 
finding that death was not so near at hand as they had anti- 
cipated, he was again replaced on the wet bank. The next 
morning the same ceremony was commenced of immersing 
and repeating the names of their deities, until five o'clock 
P. M., when the man expired, being litercUly murdered by 
his own relations.^ In the second volume of the Friend 
of India, it is remarked that one very notorious trait in the 
character of the natives of India is their wsmt of humane 
feelings towards the brute creation, their oum countrymen 
in distress^ and even towards their sick relatives, ' That 
this is really the case, needs no proof. The cruel manner 
in which they often treat the patient bullock, which they 
use as. a beast of burden — suffering their cows, notwith-. 
standing the veneration they pretend for this animal, oftea 
to perish in the winter for want of food, furnish a sufficient 
proof of their want of feeling for the brute creation. Their 
inhumanity towards their own countrymen is sufficiently 
evinced by their sufiering one of them, in a state of want 
and disease, cruelly to perish before their eyes, if he should 
not happen to be one of their relatives or friends, or at least 
of their own division of cast4 and, above all* by their seeing 
a boat full of their own countrymen, who perhaps a few 
hours before had been bowing before the same log of wood 
as themselves, sinking before their eyes without making the 
least effort to save them ! But their unfeeling conduct 
towards their sick and dying relatives is sometimes shocking 

810 IndicCs CrUa ia 

ki the extteme. Of this an instance occurred some years 
ago in a village ncsar Serampore. An aged father was 
brought by his children to the river ^de to die. After 
having been there for some time> contrary to their expecta- 
tions, he recovered and went'home again ; but his unfeeling 
ohlkfaren, instead of rejoicing that he was spared to them 
a little longer, so tormented him by their jeers and scoffs^ 
because he did not die when carried to the river side for 
that purpose, that, weary of his life, the old man at length 
went out and put a period to his existence, by hanging him- 
self on a tree near the public rdadi' 

^' To the above statements, I will now add my own testi- 
mony. I lived upon the banks of the Ganges for six years. 
During the whole of that period scarcely a day passed 
without some dorcumstance occarring which strikingly re- 
minded me of the language of the Psalmist, ' The dark 
places of the earth are full of the habitations of cruelty/ 
I have seen some held up in the river by two persons, while 
a third has incessantly kept pouring water down the throat 
until life has become extinct. I have seen others laid upon 
the wet bank with their feet in the water when in the act of 
dying ; and I have observed others who have been suffered 
to lie upon mats at a little distance from the river /or several 
days before they have expired; but during this time no 
means have been employed for their recovery. In short,, 
it is a very rare occurrence for any sick person to be 
brought back to his home after he has once been carried 
from it to die,'* 

" One evening,* says the Widow of a Missionary, " as I 
"^as walking with my husband by the river side, we saw two 
r^pectable natives carrying a woman in their arms. We 
asked diem what they were going to do with her! They 
very cooHy answt&iied, * We !are going to put her into the 
Water that her soal may go to heaven, for she lA our mo- 
ther!' I asked them if she was ill? They said, * She is not 
very i(l ; but she is old, and has no teeth, and what is the 
use of her living V I felt a great deal on hearijig this, nmd 
said, ^ What! have you no compassion on your mother? 
will yon drown her because she is old V The woman in- 
stantly fixed her eyes on me, and said, * What sort of a 
woman are you V I told her I was an English woman, and 
wished to prevent her children from drowning her ; and, if 
they did, I wouM acquaint the Governor with it, and, have 
them both hanged. They said, 'Never mind;' and pro* 

BHiiih NumOmihf. SlI 

eecNied tdirardfi the river. Mr. R. iJketk ran down the hmA, 
and, takiBg hold of the womaii, ioskted upon their taking 
her home. They did so : bat they brongbt her arain the 
next evening, and Mr. F. Carey saw them throw her into 
the water, without performing the usual ceremony of giving 
her water in the name of their gods. 

** A man who worked in the Paper-Mill at Serampore 
was bitten by a snake. His companions immediately took 
him to the river to throw him in, without knowing whether 
it wa^ a poisonous snake that had bitten him or not. When 
Mr. R. and Mr. F. Carey got to them, they found the poof 
creature between two men ; one had hold of his shoulders, 
^be other of his legs, and they were about to throw him into 
the river. Mr. Carey said, he thought the man was not 
dead, and made them put him down. Medicine was sent 
for and a spoonful given to him. He had no sooner taken 
it than he spoke and said, * It is very strong. I will sooner 
die than take any more !' Mr. C. well understood the na- 
ture of the bite, and said it would be necessary to repeat 
the medicine every twenty minutes all night. Mr. R. asked 
those around him, if any one would stay with the poor man 
all night. They all answered, * No ; we ccmnot lose our 
sleep. It would be much beUerfor him to die them for us 
to be deprived of a nights sleep P My husband staid alt 
night, and the poor man continued to get better. In the 
morning he was so far recovered as to be able to walk home. 
The next day he came to our house, and fell down at my 
husband's ieet, and said, ' I am come to worship you, Sa- 
hab, for saving my life ; and I will work for you as long as 
I live !' He proved a faithful creature ; and was working 
on the Mission Premises when I left Serampore (in 1820). 
He* attended preaching in Bengalee very regularly. 

^' The Mission House at Serampore has been, and still is, 
a refuge to the Natives. There they are protected from 
the Br^muns at their swinging feasts — comforted when in 
trouble — have medicine administered when they are sick ; — 
there they are relieved when in distress — ^there they are in- 
structed how they can be saved without cutting themselves 
with knives, or running spits through their tongues, and 
other cruelties that their Gooroos require. Not only in the 
Mission House have they found protection, but in the 
house of our Native Christians. I have witnessed the 
death of two who died under the roof of a Native brother 
at Serampore, where they had taken shelter from the jackals 

313 Indian Crmio 

a^ i^f of (ir0y ; Mug caaC out by their relativ/t^ vhea 
ill, forsaken by their eooipanioDs in idolatry, and left to 
perieh^ One of them was an old womm covered with 
wounds* She bad but little cbthing on her, so that the 
birds had eaten nearly all the flesh off her back as she 
crawled along : but she soon died. Mr. R. had a coiSin 
made, and with his own hands put her in. for he could get 
no one to assist him* Our dear Native brother and sister 
bad fed and taken care of her while alive ; but they were 
too much afraid of the disease to touch her when she wsus 
dead. The other was a young woman who worked in the 
Paper-Mill. She was left a widow when only ten years of 
age, and at this early period became utterly depraved. Her 
body was so maimed as almost to lose the appearance of a 
human being; but in this miserable condition she was 
spared eight months. She died praising God for his good- 
ness to her, in sparing her so long to enjoy the privilege of 
worshipping the true God."* 

The following extract of a letter from the same lady, dated 
Salisburj', May, 1828, is painfully interesting : — *• While I 
am writing, I am feeling all the horrors I formerly felt re- 
specting the sick in India. I once witnessed one of the 
scenes in all its aggravations. The sick person was a 
young woman who was not willing to go to tfie river. As 
they approached the Ghaut her screanis were intolerable ; 
crying, * Ame moreyjay na I' (I am not dying !) But the 
men who had t;aken her were firm to their purpose, and 
would not listen to any thing that was said to them. They 
laughed at my entreaties ; turned a deaf ear to my threats ; 
and rushed forward into the water with their victim. Whe- 
ther they were relations or not I could not ascertain. The 
poor creature had often said, ' I am not dying! ' but now 
she found herself in dying circumstances ; a few cups of 
water poured down her throat in the name of their gods^ 
soon stopped her breath. I inquired whether it was a 
common case to take them to the river against their will. 
They said, ' Yes ; or else a great many would disgrace 
their families by dying in their houses.' Many are carried 
thither at their own request ; but in this case the conduct 
of the relatives was extremely cruel. Sometimes they leave 
them to perish by the river. I found a poor old man one 
morning by the river side, who had been left there all 

* Youth'? Mag. 18^3, pp. 392—304. 

BriiiikHumMU^. 818 

aigkt Tboie who had taken Jiiln bad nbbad fab body 
with mud, and had left him <|iiite naked, exposed to the 
ants; so that he was comptetely covered with insects! 
When Z saw him move his bead, I went to him ; but. Oh ! 
the hcNrror that thrilled threogh me, to see a fellow-crealmw 
in his dying moments thus cruelly tormented with insects 
that were running over him in groitps from bead to foot I 
ran for assistance, but the Natives refused to donny thing for 
him, unless I would allow tiiem to ptit him a litde near^ 
the water ; spring, he was too far off fiur the tide to reach 
him. I said, * Peihaps he may get better if he be cleaned 
and taken care of/ They shook their beads, and said, ' He 
was put there to die, and die he must/ My husband soon 
came with some wine for him ; we put a little of it into his 
mouth, which he swallowed, and said it was very good. I 
then thought he would revive. But he had lain all night 
on the damp ground, and it was now eleven o'clock and the 
aun shining on him very hot, so that it had dried the mad 
that was on his body, which fatigued him very much* 
When we endeavoured to move him, he said he was very 
faint, and wished to remain where he wa» for a few 
minutes. Alas ! it was but a few minutes indeed ! .for he 
soon expired. I could mention many more facts of horror, 
but I forbear." ^ 

The existence of this custom, and the inhumanities con* 
nected with it, were very fully discussed in the public 
papers in Calcutta before the author left India in Nov. 
1825 ; a few extracts may be interesting. In the Bengal 
Uurkaru it is observed, "During the prevalence of Cholera, 
one of the symptoms of which is a sudden prostration of 
strength, leaving the pulse scarcely perceptible and the 
patient in an apparently lifeless state, it must frequently 
happen that individuals are carried down to the river in this 
state and murdered under the pretext that they are already 
in a dying state ; when, if they had been properly treated, 
they might have been restored to health. We have favfUrd- 
that these unhappy victims of a demoralizing superstition 
are sometimes carried down expressing reluctance by every 
means in their power." (Aug. 27, 1825.) 

The following letter, extracted from the Columbian Press 
Gazette, is given entire : — ''I was infonned a few days aeo 
that numbers of sick Natives were daily brought to the 
Kidderpore Ghaut, to perform the last ceremony of dipping 
them in the s*tream, and forcing the mud and water of the 

814 InMm'^Crmu 

Ghmges iiit^ dmr mottdis. Gbfidiitjr led me to gee l^iM,. 
as w«U as to tiy if I conU be of sertice in peiBuading^ any 
to de»«t from Ibis honid act. On my arrival at the spot 
to which I was directed, I saw three individaab, two old 
men and a boy of about tUiteeiB or fourteen years g£ age. 
The two old people were in a hopeless (Mke, the boy how*- 
evet looked very well; but ^ he was lying on the marshjf 
ground on a bar^ mat, not five yardii from the water, asd 
bis body uncovered, his oase seemed dangerous. I went 
up to him, felt his pmlse, and perceiired it beat well. I le*- 
monstrated with those around him for having brought the 
boy to such a ptaee, and then leaving him in that eonditiou. 
I inquired if a doctor had attended him. I was informed 
that the doctor attached to the Taonah was sent for, who 
gave him HOme English mediciBe, and promised to be back 
dgaia very soon. Shortly after this the inhuman man (a 
Brahmun) appeared, but would give no n^dicine ; saying, 
^ IJkave given oKC£, /or which I ha/ce not iein paid; and 
I WILL mOT administer any more until paid for f ^ 1 
was struck with amaeement at the worcte of this wretch, but 
all perstiasions and prt)mses were of no avail. Hamanity 
led me to sugge^ thali if the boy were takeii to his house 
and kept wai^, I would pay any charge the doctor might 
make. This was not acceded to : and as it seemed useless 
to do any thing further so long as the boy remained in that 
damp place, exposed to the weather, I thought proper to 
go. away. The dootor was still there ; but whether he gave 
him any medicine after I left the place I cannot say. On 
inquiry the foUowing morning I 'was infonned the boy died 
abo^ midnight. Can you inform me if the doctors attached 
to the Tannahs are paid by Government? This information 
from yon, or any of the readers of year valuable Gazette, 
will much oblige C. 

Toilj/% Nullah, Sep. 23, 1^5.*' 

'^ We are nndble to satisfy our Correspondent on this 

"Would not thi$ aflkir in Britain be justly looked upon as 
murder ? *• Ought not inquisition to be made for blood " 
thus shed in British India f Does not the humanity, even 
of the humane, in India, want elevating, which could leave 
a chfld thus to perish without using compulsory measures to 
have him taken care of?* 

* S«e Ba^. Mag. Sep., 1826. 

BritiA HumMiiy. 818 

A CoiTei^oiident, foxmerly resideiit ik Beiigal, %rile8 
in Oct. 18!^ : — ^' Th^sre are other ciistotni phictued ki 
India as awful and' abloiDiDaMe as that of immolatiiig the 
iliikocent widow ; amohg which may bi3 reckoned that of 
exposmff the sick iy the sides of their rivers^ If there bd 
any period in homan life in which man standti in particnlav 
need of the manifestations of irieMbhipy it is in the hoor of 
sickness and death. He looks to his friends to siipport hnl 
drooping head, to adjust his pillow, to administer the cot* 
dial, and to wipe away the dew of death ; but, das ! tiiese 
consolations fall not to the lot of the poor Hindoo. When 
he is overtaken by sickness, those around him, for a time, 
watch bis bed ; but, as soon as he is supposed to be in dan- 
gerous circumstances, he is hurried away to the banks of 
some holy river, and the ceremonies which then take place 
have a great tendency to extinguish life.'* 

'* We had not proceeded far," says the Widow of a Mis- 
sionary who died at Digah, writing on the Ganges, Dec. 
1826, " when we saw on a sand-bed a poor man and woman 
sitting by the water. The woman was busied in laving her 
dying soii with mud and water, who was old and strong 
etiough to be heard to say, ' I will not die ! I will not die f 
To which she was heard to say frequently, * To die by 
Gnnga is blessed, my son ! ' she at length stifled him ; 
when the father assisted in pushing him into the river.*' 

** In my way down from the Upper Provinces," says a 
correspondent in the Columbian Press Gazette, " my bud- 
gerow stopped at a Ghaut on the Hooghly river, in the 
vicinity of Moorshednbad. The crowd which was collected 
on the spot excited my curiosity to know what occasioned 
it. I acccMrdingly went to the place and witnessed one of the 
Jinost inhuman scenes that can be imagined. A poor help- 
less creature was stretched on a cot, the lower part of hia 
body being immersed in water. In this posture he w€ds 
implorinff his murderers in the mast piti^l manner to let 
him go^ declaring that he was get far from death I To he«r 
his supplicalioQS, and observe the distressed aadfodom ex- 
pression of his countenance, were enough to strike any 
heart with horror and pity. But these cruel wretches that 
were about him, unmindful of his entreaties, kept crying, 
* Hiirree bol J hurree bol !* and contrnued filling his month 
with water, till at length the poor creature became ex- 
hausted; his voice, which was at first loud, gradually sunk, 
and he fell an unwilling victim to superstition'' (Aug., 1825.) 

816 India's Crus t& 

A Bengalee Newspaper, die Kowmoody, Aug., 1825, 
contains die following testimony to the existence of these 
atrocities : — ** With a yiew to check the progress of the 
Cholera Morbus, the Govemment have, with their osmd 
benevolence towards the natives, been pleased to appoint a 
native doctor to every Tannah, to affoid medical assistance 
to the poor patients in the neighbourhood. We are happy 
to learn that a young man having been attacked with the 
Cholera, and his relations despairing of his life, took him to 
the river side, when suddenly his breath stopped and he 
appeared to be dead ; his relations prepared a funeral pile, 
but to their great surprise they perceived him move, and 
approaching him, though with a d^ree of fear^* had recourse 
to some medicines, wUch restored him to life, and he re- 
turned home to the great joy of his whole family.** 

Another Bengalee Paper, named SomacJiar Durpun, 
Sep. 8, published at Serampore, states, '* A respectable 
man of Sulkea, having been attacked with the Cholera, was 
taken to the river side; and on his becoming senseless, 
though not cold, every one thought he was dead; and, 
having prepared a pile, put him upon it and set it on fire. 
The poor creature, by imbibing a certain degree of heat, 
came to himself, and rose up. One of his relations, who 
was close by, beat him on the head with a bamboOy and 
killed him on the burning pile. This circumstance is not 
groundless ; we have obtained the account from a European 
gendeman who was an eye witness of it. The perpetrator 
of this murder (says the Hindoo Translator), though it was 
prejudice that prompted him to act as he did, no doubt con- 
ceived with respect to the supposed dead man, what we 
have afaready stated. This instance corroborates our state- 
ment. Such absurd notions of evil spirits or supernatural 
beings are not handed to us by our ancestors, nor can we 
find any trace of them in our shastras, and hence we are at 
a^loss to conceive how such groundless ideas could ever 
take root in the minds of modern Hindoos.'' 

The cgppalUng scenes presentsd to the humane^ even in 

* '^ If a Hindoo, after having been taken to the river, and supposed 
to be dead, moves himself or attempts to get up (as is ftequently the 
case), hb relations believe that sopie evil spirit possesses the body ; aad 
instantly beat it down with a hatdiet, spade, or some iron weapon 
which they find close by ; thus killing the poor creature who might 
otherwise have survived. Such is the cruel reign of superstition amon«^ 
this simple race of people." (Note by the Tkakslator.) 

Briiiah HwnmUy. 9a 

Caic«ita» are such as show die chaniel^r iif the Hmd^ «ttd 
Mussalaian» and the necessity that the nodld dictates c^ 
Christianity should be propagated among the people* '* It 
redounds Uttle .to the credit of the Magistates," says tbe 
Hurkaru, '' or to their subordinates, that Uie Ghauts pre* 
sent spectacles both horrid and disgusting to every feeling 
mind. It not unfrequently happens that twetUy dead bodies 
(and as many living ones) are brou^t to one Ghaut to be 
burnt. This Ghaut will admit of four or five only being 
consumed at one time. The rest are of necessity suffered 
to putrefy until an opportunity is afforded their relations to 
burn them ; while the groans of the dying who are lying 
dose by, and who inhale the smoke and smell, are calcu- 
lated at once to excite both pity and horror. Sometimes 
also the relations are so poor that they cannot pi!eciu'e 
money sufficient to burn the body, in which. ca3e they leave 
it at the Ghaut, and go and beg for the necessary pittance 
to purchase the wood, and two days probably elapse before 
any charitable individuals are found to aid them ! But 
why confine these remarks to Ghauts only? Turn towards 
the city ; there we shall behold circumstances which ^cite 
our pity and onr indignation. Several bodies of poor men 
are seen lying in the streets. Only last week a poor man, 
who was struck by the sun, fell down on the Circular Road 
and expired. His body was suffered to lie a whole day, 
while the effigies of Hussan and Hussein were exhibited 
by die Mussulmans ; and the body must have been trampled 
on by the crowd which generally assemble on such occa« 
sions." (Sep. 1, 1826.) 

*' Since our last (saysthe India Gazette), we Jiave had 
very heavy rains, and tbe sickness among the natives has, 
we are led to understand, somewhat abated. Dead bodies 
in rather considerable numbers may still be seen afloat, and 
even in Tolly's Nullah we have seen several. Indeed one 
remained two days near AUipore Bridge, and would, we 
suppose, have remained there to this hour, had it not been 
carried away by a rising of the water, owing to the heavy 
rains. It is quite horrible, close to a city like Calcutta, tq 
see human carcases floating about or lying at length on the 
bank, a prey to dogs or carrion birds. The sight is de- 
grading and brutalizing. It is no less so to see the Doome 
carrying the dead in a state the heart to ntidityy slung 
wpon iamhoosj and thus casting them into the river; 
making, we may say, a nuisance of the stream! It would 

318 InHa's CriM io 

be a iM8t dettvaBle Mwf if sihIi a <eaadaloas mode ^Ah* 
fM>sing <^ the d«tid oould be obviated ; for scandaloas snch 
spectacles ^ertaioly are to the ey^ of CbristiaDs, in a city 
sabject to Christian Laws and Government. The expense 
coold not be very great of providing a stock of Mango 
coffins in different quarters of the town, to be available for 
Ae purpose of the Dooms, ii¥ho ought also to be made to 
attach weights to the dead bodies they cast into die river* 
TUs would not prevent th^r being carried to the ocean, 
though it would keep them from floating on the surface of 
the water: perhaps, if tfie matter were properly represented to 
Govemmenty suck a suggestion wotijd meet consideration/'^ 
^ We regret to state (says the Editor of the India 
Gaasette), that the sickness and moitaiity have not abated. 
Among the natives the Cholera is not only prevalent b»l 
very destmctive. The Mahometans afls6 have suffered very 
severely. We have heard that no fewer than 158 Mussuhnans, 
«id from seventy to eighty Hindoos^ di^d in Callcutta on Fri- 
day. This mortality maypartly be attiibntedto the fatigue and 
dissipation of the Mohurrum festival. By dissipation we mean 
nocturnal watching, and wandering about in the heat of the 
day. We would not willingly say any thing harsh abowt 
the solemn observance of any people ; hut eomnnced as am 
are that the Mohurrum is prejudicial to health and mo^ 
ralSj and of no importance in a religious point of view, we 
consider it a nuisance which we should like to see abolished. 
When we use the word nuisance, we trust we shall not be 
accused of intolerance, when the damour and dissipation 
of the ceremony, and the unhealthy consequences are con- 
sidered, and the inconvenience every wiiy as it respects the 
families in which they serve. Perhaps our reference to 

♦ ** Oue of tlie first specimens of the manners of tlie country (says 
the late Bishop Heher) which have fallen under our notice has heen a 
human corpse, slolvly floating past, according to the well known custom 
of the Hindoos'' (Jour. vol. i. p. 2). " The practice of throyring dead 
bodies into the river is, in many places, a dreadful nuisance ; as in 
case a body should float to the side of the river, and remain there, it 
will continue to infect the whole neighbourhood, till the vultures, dogs, 
jackals, and other animals have devoured it. The throwing of dead 
bodies and other filth into the river makes the Ganges, in the neigh()our* 
hood of large ^wns, re^mble a common sewer. Still the j!(9atives drink 
it with the greatest appetite, bathe .in it every day, to cleanse both their 
bodies and their souls, and carry it to an immense distance, as the 
greatest imaginable treasure !" Ward^s View of the Hindoos, vol. iii. 
p.'fif76. "AuTH. 

Britnh HtmimHy, 3I» 

what we deem morbific agents may be considered as 
grounded more on theory than fact. Let it be so. We 
deem it not less our duty to call attention to the subject 
again and again. We hesitate not to deliyer it as our 
opinion that great unhealthiness may be expected from the 
accumulation of animal putrefactive vapour in and about 
Calcutta. Dead bodies^ in a state of putrefaction, are 
continually floating on the surface of the Hooghly, or 
stranded on the hanks. The Mahomedans bury their dead 
only two feet under the surface of the earth, and we under- 
stand, from this superficial mode of sepulture, the large ]MEtis- 
sulman burying-ground in the Circular Road is covered 
with dead bodies, dragged out of their graves by jackals 
and dogs. Greater attention is necessqry to the drains in 
and about Calcutta, which present an e^ttensive surface for 
the evolution of putrescent matter. It is almost incon- 
ceivable how horribly filthy the densely populous parts pf 
Calcutta are ; the narrowness of the lanes, and the darkness 
of the alleys, of themselves constitute causes of filth, not 
only in the localities but in the inhabitants. The inha- 
bitants of wide streets will, a priori, we imagine, be always 
cleaner, better dressed, more anxious about tlieir appear- 
ance, every way more comfortaWe, and even morail, than 
those of lanes or gullies. In this idea we are in a measure 
supported by a saying of the philosophic and pious Paley, 
* Want of cleanliness is want of morals.* We have reason 
to think our climate might be improved ; and there are, we 
believe, several opulent natives who would snppprt the 
plan, provided Government patronized it.** (Aug. 25, 
1825.) ' ^ 

From these Tarious facts and observations, some idea 
may be formed of the dreadful nature of the practice of ex- 
posing the sick in British India, and the brutalizing and 
demoralizing influence of it upon the population. Does not 
the voice of humanity demand attention to these attifpcities? 
Where are the tender sympathies of nature ? Let Britain 
display her true character in India — let her abolish humatt 
sacrifices, and raise the tone of humane and moral feeling 
in society. 

aaO ImUa'M Cries to 


Extent of the prevalence of this inhuman practice. 

. On this subject it is impossible to speak with precision. 
The author hesitates to give an opinion ; but it is presumed 
there can be no impropriety in presenting the statements of 
those who, from their residence in the vicinity of the Ganges^ 
may be supposed best qualified to form some idea of the 
prevalence of this unnatural and destructive custom. " The 
immersion/' says Dr. Buchanan, of half the body '' of a per- 
son, supposed to be dying, in the water of the Ganges, 
must often occasion premature death. It is optional ; not 
commanded. Though very common on the banks of the 
Ganges, it is reprobated in many places at a distance from 
it.". The author never saw this practised during his resi- 
dence in Orissa. It is hoped that attention will be awakened 
to this painful subject, and more correct information respect- 
ing it obtained. 

" Every Hindoo," says the Rev. W, Ward, in his 
Farewell Letters, '* in the hour of death, is hurried to the 
side of the Ganges, or some other sacred river, if near 
enough, where he is laid, in the agonies of death, exposed 
to the burning sun by day and to the dews and cold of the 
night. The water of the river is poured plentifully down 
him if he can swallow it; and his breast, forehead, and 
arms, are besmeared with the mud of the river; for the 
very mud of the Ganges is supposed to have some purify- 
ing properties. Just before the soul quits the body, he is 
laid on the earth, and then immersed up to the middle in 
the stream ; while his relations stand around him tormenting 
him in his last moments with superstitious rites, and increase 
ing, a hundred fold, the pains of dying. Very often, where 
recovery might be reasonably expectedj these barbarities 
bring on premMwre death. It is pretty certain th-at 
many private murders, in using these rites, are per- 
petrated" In a calculation, made by the same author, of 
the number of Hindoos who perish annually, the victims of 
superstition, he estimates that there are 5(00 sick persons 
whose death is hastened on the banks of the Ganges ; and 
adds, *' a gentleman, whose opinion is of great weight. 

British Humanity* 321 

says, — * I believe this estimate is far below the troth." Of 
the various kinds of Hindoo cruelties, it is remarked, — 
** There are a number of actions performed by Hindoos 
supposed to be meritorious in their nature, but which, in the 
opinion of a Christian, deserve punishment even in this life. 
The Hindoo widow burning with the dead body of her hus- 
band is promised a residence in heaven during fce reign of 
fourteen Indras; yet no Christian doubts whether' these are 
real murders or not. The death of vast multittides of Hin- 
doos is procured^ or hastened^ annuaUy, by immersing a 
part of the body^ in a state of dangerous weakness^ in the 
Ganges^ and by pouring large quantities of the water into 
the mouth of the dying person : yet the Hindoos think it a 
work of great m^rit. Many persons voluntarily renounce 
life in the Ganges, under the hope of obtaining immediate 
entrance into heaven; and yet a jury of Englishmen would 
pronounce it self-murder. Infatuated mothers devote their 
children to this sacred river, not doubting but they are 
sending them to heaven ; yet we feel certain that every 
such infant is murdered."^ Ought not Britain to exert her 
influence and abolish all these murderous practices ? Is not 
this one great object of Providence in her supreniacy over 
the millions of India? What a blessing would Christianity 
be to Hindostan ! 

A late resident in India observes, " With regard to the 
extent of the practice, every conjecture must be very un- 
certain. There are no registers of births and burials to 
which we can have recourse, and consequently we have no 
data upon which we can form any accurate calculation. 
The river Ganges rises in the mountains of Himmaleh. 
From this place it flows in the direction of Hurdwar. From 
Hurdwar, where it gushes through an opening in the moun- 
tains and enters Hindostan, it flows 1200 miles with a 
smooth navigable stream to the Bay of Bengal. In its 
course through these plains it receives eleven rivers, some 
of which are larger, and none smaller than the Thames. 
Through the whole of the course of the Ganges, and 
through many of its tributary streams, the custom of ex- 
posing the sick prevails. Nor is it confined to those who 
dwell near its banks : some are brought from a great dis- 
tance that they may die nqar Gunga. If we consider the 
denseness of the population, and the number of villages, 

* Ward's View of the Hindoos, vol. ii. pp. 127, 138, 173. 

322 Indians Cries lo 

towns, — ^and cities, near wliich this river flows, — it is easy to 
be conceived that the loss of human life, occasioned by this 
custom, is of awful extent. Nor indeed have I heard of 
any Hindoos remonstrating against it, except Bruja Mohun, 
who wrote an excellent Tract on the present state of Poly- 
theism in India. When this respectable and enlightened 
man was seized with the Cholera Morbus hb relatives 
wished to hurry him away to the river, but he refused and 
n sisted on being left in his house." 

The late Bishop Heber, when at Benares, stated, — ''Fuel 
is extremely dear, and to this circumstance is imputed the 
number of bodies thrown into the river without burning. 
Suttees are less numerous in Benares than in many parts of 
India, but self-immolation by drowning is very common. 
Every year many scores of pUgriitas from all parts of India 
come Uther expressly to end their days and secure their 
salvation. They purcnase two large kedgeree pots, between 
which they tie themselves ; and, when empty, these support 
their weight in the water. Thus equipped they paddle into 
the stream, then fill the pots with the water which surrounds 
them, and thus sink into eternity ! Government have some- 
times attempted to prevent this practice, but with no other 
effect than driving the voluntary victims a little further down 
the riter ; nor indeed, when a man has come several hun- 
dred miles to die, is it likely that a police officer can prevent 
him. Instruction seems the only way in which these poor 
people can be improved, and that I trust they will by de- 
grees obtain from us.^f (Sept. 1824.) The success of 
the British magistrate at Allahabad, in suppressing this 
practice, shows that this and similar cruel customs in India 
might easily be abolished by the paternal power of Britain. 

The late B.ev. D. Brown bears his testimony to the ap- 
palling extent of this unnatural custom : — ** The Brahmuns 
can, as may serve their interest, devote any sick branch of a 
family to death ; and incredible number^ are- destroyed by 
this superstition.'^* " It is my deliberate opinion," says 
the B.ev. S. Sutton, late of Moorshedabad, " that, yearly, 
thousands of persons would recover from their diseases, if 
this absurd custom were abolished.'' 

''The exposure of the sick and dying by the sides. of the 
Ganges, and other sacred riveis, has been practised from 

* Miss. Mag. vol. i. p. 117. \i Journ., vol. i. p. 


British Humanity. 323 

time immemorial, and is extended to all the Hindoos re- 
siding near the rivers. At the hoar of death, these poor 
creatures are brought from home, and exposed to the 
scorching heat of a vertical sun, even in the very agonies of 
death ; or to the heavy dews and cold of the night. The 
body of the sufferer is besmeared with the mud of the river, 
and a large quantity of water is poured down him if he can 
be made to swallow it. Hereby the mast horrible cruelties 
are practised on the person of the dying , in the hour when 
suffering humanity y in every civilized country ^ receives the 
most soothing and tmwearied attentions; and htmdreds are 
hurried into a premature graved* 

" I was mucn interested," says a correspondent in the 
Columbian Press Gazette, ** with the perusal of your re- 
marks on the practice of suffocating invalid Hindoos with 
Gunga-jol, or water of the Ganges. I have looked upon 
this horrid custom for years in the light in which you repre- 
sent it, and in many instances I consider it absolute murder. 
It is far more prevalent than the bu/ming of widows. 
Among the higher class of Hindoos, hardly any one is 
allowed to depart this life in peace at home, but is taken to 
the banks of the river, and there offered up a sacrifice to 
brahminical superstition. This indeed is such a crying and 
prevalent evil, among Hindoos, that it certainly deserves 
the serious consideration of those in authority. — August 
24th, 1825. 

Another correspondent writes, — " The perusal of a 
Paper called ^ Brahminical Cruelties/ and your observa- 
tions upon it, induce me again to say something in defence 
of the cause of humanity which you have advocated. I 
entirely concur with you in opinion that the * John Bull/ 
when speaking upon this subject, must have confined his 
view to the Bankshall and Chundpanl Ghauts, as the scenes 
of the barbarous acts ; and am surprised he should be so 
ignorant of what is passing a littie beyond Calcutta and its 
immediate environs. / can confidently assert that stich 
murderous acts as the one I described in your last number 
nre of almost daily occurrence in the Province of Bengal. 
Perhaps few of your' readers are acquainted with a village 
called Chakdah: it is situated on the banks of the Hooghly, 
©ear Sooksaugur, a little above Bandel. When any of 
the unfortunate individuals who are carried to the river to 
receive the ' Gunga LalV survive the dreadful treatment 

* Remarks on the Immolations in India (Parbury), p. 6. 

y 2 

324 India's Cries to 

of their murderers, by the physical strength of their consti- 
tioD, or other causes, they are generally expelled from their 
caste, torn from their relations, and sent to inhabit this vil- 
lage. After they are once taken out of the house to undergo 
this inhuman rite they are reckoned unholy and unfit for 
association. There they intermarry, and I suppose live as 
comfortably as any of the \qw caste Hindoos. I do not 
think that this village is inhabited by any but these people 
and their children. I deny not that, like other occurrences 
of life, the descriptions of this horrid custom are some- 
times exaggerated ; but this is no argument against the real 
fact; the most certain things are liable to exaggeration. 
Those who wish to have a correct idea of brahminical cru- 
elties, in this respect, may pay a visit to Chakdah, and there 
learn, from the inhabitants themselves, the extent of tortures 
that each of them has suffered." 

The following letter from a gentleman, in a Calcutta 
Paper, affords a specimen of the want of humanity and 
attention to the sick, so prevalent among the Hindoos: — 

" I am a Mofassilite, and, in the absence of better society, I love to 
make companionship with a few faithful dogs, which have served me well 
ever since they had the happiness of having me for a master. The even- 
ing before last, having mounted my horse and whistled them about me, 
I started with the intention of running a fox if I could fmd one. I had 
scarcely proceeded a hundred yards from my house, when my horse 
started at something rolled up in a mat, lying under a tree by the side of 
the road. As there were numbers of people passing, who took no notice 
of it, I thought it could be nothing of consequence enough to require 
me to dismount, so I passed on ; and, after having had my ride, and 
killed a jackal, I returned home. About ten o'clock next morning, my 
bearer informed me that a traveller, oppressed with age, overcome by hun- 
ger, and wearied with his journey, was lying under a tree a short distance 
off, and was just about to die : ^* afui,' added be in a tone of the most 
perfect unconcern, ' he has been lying there for several days, without any 
thing to eat or drinks so he cannot live more than a day P Having put on 
my clothes as hastily as I could, I repaired to the spot, and to my asto- 
nishment found that what I had taken for a bundle of wood or grass was 
notliing less than a man. At first sight it appeared to me that he was 
totally stiff and dead ; but, on turning him round, I found that life was 
not extinct, and that possibly something might yet be done to recal the 
parting spirit. I accordingly had him borne to my house, and with con- 
siderable difficulty I forced some medicine down his throat ; by de- 
grees he recovered so far as to make known to me that, having gone on 
a pilgrimage to the temple of Juggernaut, he was returning to his home 
at Moorshedabad, when he was seized with an illness which day by day 
increased : that, his money being all spent, he had been eleven days 
without tasting food ; and that, not being able to advance farther than 
the place in which I found him, he had been left there by his friend. 

British Humanity. 325 

(Mark the word, Mr. Editor). As to not having eaten any thing for 
eleven days, his emaciated state bore full testimony to the truth of his 
story ; for I never could have believed it possible, without actually seeing 
it, that the human frame could be wasted to such a degree, and still have 
life in it. 

*' What a strange idea these people must have of religion, and what it 
requires 1 In this case, two persons set out together from Moorshedabad 
to Juggernaut. The one (my patient) is seventy years of age, the other 
a young man in full health. On their way back the old man fell sick ; 
and, although his friend has been making this pilgrimage for the sake of 
his salvation, and trying to make his peace with his gods, yet he hesitates 
not to leave his sick companion to die as he may, and become food for 
dogs; and, when he returns to Moorshedabad, he, no doubt, thinks that 
he has washed away all the sins of his former life, by the merit of a pil- 
grimage to a shrine polluted with human blood ! It is a comfort indeed 
to think that we profess a faith which points out a very different conduct 
on such an occasion. It is ours to act the part of the good Samaritan, 
and pour oil and wine into the wounds of the fallen and distressed, whe- 
ther Christian, Jew, Pagan, or Mussulman ; and I trust there are but few 
of my readers ^ho would have passed by on the other side of the road, 
without heeding the miserable skeleton who now lies at my door. The 
Hindoos have a definition of the word * neighbour,' but it is widely dif- 
ferent from that given by the Author of our faith. They have no such 
precept as * do unto others as you would be done by.' The fate of the 
poor wretch I hope to serve is the fate of thousands. Immense num- 
bers of those who (leave their houses in these pilgrimages, leave them 
never to return. Hundreds die by the way, and some are crushed to 
death by the ponderous car of Juggernaut. A description of the pro- 
cession, by one of our best living Poets, may give an idea of the horror 
with ^hich any spectator, but one of themselves, would view it. It is as 
follows : — 

** A thousand pilgrims strain. 

Arm, shoulder, brea^^t, and thigh, with might and main, 

To draw that sacred wain. 

And scarce can draw along the enormous load. 

Prone fall the frantic votaries in its road. 

And, calling on their god. 

Their self-devoted bodies there they lay, 

To pave his chariot way : 

On Juggernaut they call. 

The pondVous car rolls on,''and crushes all ; 

Through blood and bones it ploughs its dreadful path; 

Groans rise unheeded ; the dying cry. 

And death and agony are trodden under foot by yon mad 

Who follow close, and thrust the deadly wheels along.'' 

'< This is the religion of those who have been so often called the mild 
Hindoos : this is the religion of a people who shudder at the idea of 
killing a cow, but subject it to the greatest tortures when alive. This 
is part of a system which condemns the unhappy widow to be burned in 
the embrace of her putrid husband — which has found a merit in exposing 

326 Indies Cries to 

a new-born child to the jaws of a voracious shark, or a |pr«edy atligato 
and which thrusts an iron hook into the back of its poor delud^ Tota- 
rieSy and swings them in the air, with a savage satisfaction to the spec- 
tators ! It is melancholy to think that one hundred millions bend the 
knee to innumerable gods, whose chief delight they conceive to consist 
in witnessing thi agonies of a human being, expiring under tortures with 
a view to conciliate their fovour I Give them education sufficient to see 
the errors of their religion and the presumption of their priests, and then 
some bold spirits must break through those fetters which have bound 
them for centuries. W* 

MofimUy My 5th, 1825.'' 

The author's colleagnes in Orissa unite their testimony 
relative to the existence of these acts of dreadful sacrifice 
to Juggernaut. The Rev. C. Lacey, under date July 9th, 
1836» writes, — ** This afternoon I had an awful subject for 
the foundation of my discourse, — the body of a poor man 
crushed to pieces by the car of Juggernaut. The wheels 
had passed just over his loins, and had nearly severed his 
upper from his lower parts ; his bowels had gushed out, and 
presented a sight too shocking to look upon. It was one of 
the most horrid spectacles I ever beheld ; and, while stand- 
ing by it, I became quite ill with sickness, and every limb 
shivered with horror. The poor wretch threw himsefrfrom 
the front of the car, and so became a voluntary sacrifice. 
He seemed a respectable man, apparently a Hindostanee 
Brahmun. I felt very much indisposed Uiis evening, but 
could not lose this opportunity of witnessing against the 
system which produced such effects. I felt my own mind 
in a serious firame, took my stand near the body, and spoke 
with some feeling of the nature of the Hindoo religion, 
and compared it with that of Christ; and, perhaps, I never 
had a more serious congregation. Some hardened wretches, 
pointing to the mangled body, said, ' See, Sir, the glory of 
Juggernaut!' I concluded with recommending them to 
look to Jesus Christ for mercy and salvation, which Jug- 
gemaut could never give." The Rev. A. Sutton adds,— - 
** The people who assembled, while we stopped to look at 
him, exclaimed with approbation, * hurra bocte !' viz. great 
devotedness. Methinks that one scene like this would be 
sufficient to awaken the whole Christian world, could they 
but witness it ; but is it less real because they cannot ? Oh 
how long shall the blood, and skulls, and murders at Pooree, 
exclaim, with a voice that should almost harrow up our soul, 
and make our flesh crawl upon our bones, against the heart- 
iessness and indifference which England mtqiifests.'' 

British Humanity. 827 

The Periodical Accounts of the Baptist Mission contain 
affecting' statements of Hindoo cruelty. A passage or two 
only is given. '' Do not send men oi compassion here, for 
you will soon break their hearts. — Do send men full of com- 
passion here, where many perish with cold, many for lack of 
bread, and millions fur lack of knowledge. In England the 
poor receive the benefit of the Gospel, in being fed and 
clothed by those who know not by what they are moved. 
When the Gospel is generally acknowledged in a land, 
it puts some to fear and others to shame ; so that, to relieve 
their ovm smart, they provide for the poor. But here (O 
miserable sight !) I have found the path-way stopped up by 
sick and wounded people, perishing with hunger, and that in 
a populous neighbourhood, where numbers pass by ; some 
singing, others talking, but none showing mercy ; as though 
they were dying weeds and not dying men."* 

The late highly respected Bishop Heber, in the cor- 
respondence which closes the Narrative ^of his Journey 
through theTTpper Provinces of India, declares, — " It is 
necessary to see idolatry to be fully sensible of its mis- 
chievous effects on the human mind. But of all idolatries 
of which I have ever read or heard the religion of the 
Hindoos really appears to me the worst, in the degrad- 
ing notions which it gives of the Deity; — in the endless 
round of its burdensome ceremonies, which occupy the time 
and distract the thoughts, without either instructing or 
interesting its votaries ; — in the filthy acts of uncleannes? 
and cruelty, not only permitted, but enjoined and insepara- 
bly interwoven with these ceremonies ; — in the system of 
castes, a system which tends, more than any thing else the 
devil has yet invented, to destroy the feelings of general 
benevolence and to make nine tenths of mankind the hopeless 
slaves of the remainder; — and in the total al^sence of any 
popular system of morals, or any single lesson which the 
people at large ever hear, to livo virtuously and do good to 
each other. I do not say that there are not some scattered 
lessons of this kind to be found in their ancient books ; but 
these books are neither accessible to the people at large, 
nor are these last permitted to read them ; and, in general, 
all the sins that a soodra is taught to fear are killing a cow, 
oJOfending a Brahmun, or neglecting one of the many fri- 
volous rites by which their deities are supposed to be con- 

* Vol. i. pp. 281,281. 

928 Indians Cries to 

cUiated. Accordingly, though the general sobriety of die 
Hindoos affords a very great facility for the maintenance of 
public order and decorum, T really never have met with a 
race of men whose standard of morality is so low ; who feel 
so little shame on being detected in a falsehood, or so little 
interest in the suffering of a neighbour not being of their own 
caste or family ; whose ordinary and familiar conversation is 
so licentious ; or, in the wilder and more lawless districts, 
who shed blood witb so little repugnance."* 

Hindoo cruelty to the sick is thus forcibly described by 
the, same author : — " Their own religion is indeed a horrible 
one : far more so than I had conceived. It gives them no 
moral precepts ; it encourages them in vice by the style of 
its ceremonies, and the character given of its deities ; and, 
by the institution of caste, it hardens their heart against 
each other to a degree which is often most revolting. A, 
traveller falls down sick in the streets of a village (I am 
mentioning a fact which happened ten days ago If) ; nobody 
knows of what caste he is, therefore nobody goes near him 
lest they should become polluted : — he wastes to death before 
the eyes of a whole community, unless the jackals take 
courage from his helpless state to finish him a little sooner; 
and, perhaps, as happened in the case to which I allude, the 
children are allowed to pelt him with stones and mud* 
The man of whom I am speaking was found in this state,, 
and taken care of by a passing European ; but, if he had 
died, his skeleton would probably have lain on the road side 
till the vultures carried it away, or the magistrates ordered 
it to be thrown into the river ! A friend of mine, some 
months ago, found a miserable wretch, a groom out of em- 
ploy, who had crept, sick of a dysentery, into his court yard. 
He had there remained, in a corner on the pavement^ two 
days and nights. Perhaps twenty servants had been eating 
their meals within six yards of him, yet none had relieved 
him — none had so much as carried him into the shelter of 
one of the out-houses, nor had iany taken the trouble to tell 
their master. When reproved for this, their answer was, 

* He was not our kinsman.' * Whose business was it?* 

* How did we know that the Sahab would like to be 
troubled ?' I do not say these are every day instances : I 
hope and believe not. Nor would I be understood as de- 

* Vol. ii. p. 384, 385. 

t The Utter is dated Tittygur (near CalcutU), Jan. lOth, 1824. j 

British Humanity. 329 

nying that alms to reiligious mendicants are given to a great 
amount in Bengal ; or that several of the wealthy inhabi- 
tants, in what they consider good works, such as construct- 
ing public tanks, making roads to places of pilgrimage, 
building pagodas and ghauts, are liberal. I only mention 
these instances, because none of those that heard them 
seemed to think them unusual or extraordinary. In a 
Christian country I think they could not have happened ; 
and they naturally arise from the genius of the national 
religion, which, by the distinction it establishes, makes men 
worse than indifferent to each other.* 

Diego de Lonta, an early Portuguese writer, during his 
residence at Goa, speaks of hospitals for animals in India, 
but asserts the inhumanity of the Hindoos. — *' One means 
of making atonement for their sins is by forming hospitals 
for birds. We haVe seen a remarkable one in the fortress 
of Cambayette, in which were very comfortable places pro- 
vided for the birds which sheltered there^ and persons were 
employed to take care of such as were sick. The revenues 
are derived from public alms. One hospital has persons in 
pay whose duty it is to walk the streets and fields to search 
for sick or infirm birds, and bring them to the hospital. 
They have also places for sick and aged beasts, where they 
are lodged and attended : people are kept to go in search of 
old buffaloes, horses, or mules, wounded or infirm, which 
are conveyed to the hospital and cured. If they see a 
lame man on the ground they will not lend a hand to lift 
him up, but let him be trampled upon by men and beasts, 
because they say he is reduced to this state by his sins. They 
buy birds merely to let them loose : but would not contribute 
to release a man from prison, even if it were their own 

Lord Teignmouth, in sketching the Hindoo character, 
confirms these statements. ** If I were to describe the 
Hindoo character generally, allowing for individual excep- 
tions, I should define it a compound of insincerity, servility, 
and dishonesty. Their master-passion is self-interest, which 
they pursue through all the mazes of cunning and duplicity. 
Their disregard for veracity is most striking ; and the de- 
tection of falsehood excites no other sensation than that of 
regret for the failure of the purpose it was intended to 
answer. Their charity h>as more of ostentation than of 

* Vol. ii. pp. 313, 314. + Asi- Journ. March, 1827. 

390 IndiaU Cries to 

benevolence. The [apathy uriih which they see their fellow 
creatures suffering pain and distress is also very remark- 
able. Their boasted tenderness to the brute creation is a 
negative quality, extending no further than to the not 
depriving animals of life, without any effort to prolong it or 
render it comfortable. The most unerring index to the 
national character of any people is, to learn their own senti- 
ments of each other ; and no people show more reciprocal 
distrust than exists among the individuals of every tribe and 
family. In every country, where idolatry has obtained a 
complete establishment, we not only find a general debase- 
ment of the moral principle, and corresponding corruption 
of manners, but even licentiousness^ and the most shocking 
cruelty, deriving a sort of sanction from the religion itself 
or from the authority of customs and prcu^tices founded 
upon eY."* 

These statements forcibly remind the humane and pious 
of the declaration of Scripture,— '^ Their sorrows shall be 
multiplied that hasten after another god: their drink offer- 
ings of blood will I not offer, nor take up their names into 
my lips." What a blessing would Christianity prove to the 
myriads of India, thus ** seeking death in the error of their 
way." The dictate of the Gospel, whi«h it is the imperi- 
ous duty of Britain to give to the East, is ** Do thyself no 
harm.'* May its blessings be extended as * far £is winds can 
waft and billows roll.' 


The necessity and propriety of adopting meoMires for the 
prevention of these atrocities — utility of attending to 
the sick — coi\firmation of the statements — concluding 

These appalling facts are submitted to the attention of 
the humane in Britain and India. That such atrocious 
acts, under the semblance of religion, are perpetrated, is 

* See Considerations on Communicating to the Natives of India the 
Knowledge of Christianity, pp. 81, 82, 92. 

British Humanity. 331 

beyood a doabt ; bat ought such infractiotis of the invio- 
lable principles of justice and humanity to be tolerated? 
'* Righteousness exalteth a nation.'' ** Mercy and truth 
preserve the king, and his throne is upholden by mercy.'* 
It is not necessary for the preservation of the British 
power in India that these cruelties should be allowed. The 
God of nations is '' a God of truth, and without iniquity, 
just and right is he ;" and He will '' make inquisition for 
blood." Can it be doubted whether Britain possesses the 
power to issue a proclamation, declaring th^t whoever is 
accessary to the death of an individual by the Suttee, In* 
fanticide, or Ghaut murders, is a murderer, and as such ame- 
nable to the laws? In India *' our will is our law." How 
great is the responsibility of the British Government ! As 
the Poet declares : — 

" Hear it, ye Senates — ^hear this truth suhlime ; 
He vtho allows of murder, shares the crime.'' 

TTie impossibility of detecting murder tmth the allowance 
of this custom is apparent. 

The late Rev. W. Ward thus describes the dying cir- 
cumstances of a heathen by the Ganges: — "Just before or 
after being immersed, they spread the mud of the river on 
the breast. Sec, of the dying man, and with one of their 
fingers write on this mud the name of some deity ; they 
also pour water down his throat, shout the name of dif- 
ferent deities in his ears, and, by this anxiety after his future 
happiness, hurry him into eternity, and in many cases, it is 
to be feared^ prevent recovery where it might reasonably 
be eapected. Some persons who are carried down to the 
river side revive and return home again ; but scarcely any 
instances are known of persons surviving after the half im- 
mersion in water. In cases of sudden and alarming sick 
ness, many are actually murdered by these violent means 
of sending men to Gunga.^* The difficulty of detect- 
ing murder, in the cruelties connected with this horrid rite,^ 
is evident. ** Private murder is practised to a dreadful 
extent among the Hindoos, and is exceedingly facilitated, 
and detection prevented, by the practice of hurrying sick 
persons to the banks of the river and burning them as soon 
as dead. Many anecdotes on this subject might be given."* 

Dr. Johns in his Pamphlet, before referred to, speaks of 
a man drowned in sport. ** Some years ago, as Shivu 

* View of the Hindoos, vol. iii. p. 269. 291. 

332 India s Cries to 

Shiromee (the Brabman who related the fact to the Rev* 
W. Ward) was returning from bathing, with Kashenant, 
another Brahman, they saw a poor old man sitting on the 
bank of the river, and asked him what he was doing there ? 
He replied that he was destitute of friends, and was about 
to renounce life in the Gauges. Kashenaut urged him not 
to delay then, if he was come to die. But the man seemed 
to hesitate, and replied that it was very cold. The Brah- 
mun (hinting to his companion that he wished to see the 
sport before he returned home !) reproached the poor trem* 
Wing wretch for his cowardice ;. and, seizing his hand, 
dragged him to the edge of the bank, where he made him 
sit down, rubbed over him the purifying clay of the river, 
and ordered him to repeat the proper incantations. While 
he was, with his eyes closed, repeating these forms, he 
slipped down and sunk into the water, which was very 
deep, and perished."* Was not this murder ? 

In the Circular Letters of the Missionaries at Serampore, 
accounts are given of the drowning of two lepers, at Futwa 
and Alumgung. '* On hearing the people belonging to the 
boat say that a man was going to be drowned at Futwa, 
I looked out, and saw the poor creature without fingers or 
toes, but in other respects apparently healthy. He was 
eating very heartily, and surrounded by several people who 
appeared to have conducted him to the spot. The bank 
being high, I could not get out of the boat till we got to a 
considerable distance from the place where the man sat. 
As I was running towards the spot, I heard the people on 
the top of the boat call out, * He his drowned ! he is 
drowned !' His attendants, who appeared to be his rela- 
tives, had assisted him down the bank of the river ; but 
whether they pushed him in, or whether he got into the 
water of his own accord, I cannot tell ; but the bank was 
so steep at the place that he could not possibly get out 
again. He made great efforts to reach the side, but had 
he been a good swimmer he could not have got out, the 
stream was so rapid. I saw him struggle much, before he 
sunk to rise no more. I endeavoured to impress on the 
people who attended him the heinousness of the crime they 
had perpetrated ; but they smiled at my concern, and said 
they had only complied with the wishes of the deceased, who 
had neither bands nor feet." (Nov. 1812). 

* Facts and Opinions relative to the burning of Widows, p. 70. 

British Humanity, 333 

'* A Hindoo, of the writer cast/' says the Rev. J, Moore, 
^* infonned me he saw a Hindoo carpenter drowned, be- 
cause he had the leprosy. He was carried from one of the 
Ghauts at Alumgung in a boat, in the presence of a large 
assembly of people, and when in deep water put overboard. 
Two large earthen pots, one filled with sand, the other with 
barley, were fastened to his shoulders.' The man sunk, but 
after some time floated on the surface of the water. The 
people in the bout rowed after him and took him up, but 
made sure work of it the second time." (Oct. 1813). 

*' The Kama Morun, or voluntary death, is when a per- 
son who is in distress or disgrace, or believes it meritorious 
to die in the Ganges, forms the resolution of parting with 
life in the sacred stream. Some of them abstain from 
food that they may expire in the holy place ; but the greater 
number drown themselves in the presence of the surround- 
ing multitude. Their children and other relations generally 
attend them. It is no tmcammon thing for a father to be 
ptished again into the river by his sons, if he attempt to 
simm back to la/nd /"* Are not these acts of murder ? 
Must not India be greatly defiled with blood ? 

The Editor of the Bengal Hurkaru very judiciously and 
forcibly observes, on this subject, ** We wUlmake a remark 
or two on a topic that has been brought to public notice 
in the Columbian Press Gazette, and which has been 
attempted to be palliated on the ground of its being a Hin- 
doo rite. It would be idle to waste words to prove that if 
it could be clearly made out in evidence that a sick man 
was put to death by his relations, by Brahmuns, or by 
any body else, when carried down to the river, or by any 
other means, and whether against the prayers of the sick 
man or not, at least within the jurisdiction of the Supreme 
Court, it would be murder ; just as the performance of a 
Suttee would be murder .f The pretence that the Hindoo 
rules and religion authorized such practices^ would be 
equally unavailable in one case as in the other. The fact 
that death is anticipated by violent means may be denied, 
and we certainly are in possession of no other proof than 
common report ; but, if such facts do exists we do not con- 

* Burder's Mis. Anec. p! 37. 
t The Suttee is not pennitted in the jurisdiction of the Supreme 
Court of Calcutta ; that is, within the Mahratta ditch or about the bounds 
of the circular road. Auth. 

384 India' t Cries to 

ceive that the presence of Police Peons is any protection 
at all against abuse ; certainly not if they are Hindoos. 
We $hoald be glad to know by what autibority it is that 
dying persons are exposed by die river side; and wonld 
thank any of onr readers, learned in the languages and 
customs of the Hindoos, to give us precise information ; 
for without yiolence^ and wi^out the use of suffocation^ 
the mere exposure on a muddy bank, under a burning sun, 
of a person dangerously ill, cannot be considered by any 
reasonable man but as an act approaching very near to 
murder, under whatever pretext it is done. 

^* There is a kind of fanaticism prevalent among Eu- 
ropeans in India, which is a melancholy proof of the force 
of habit, and of the puerile tendency to extremes that dis- 
graces even intelligent men, who adopt theories that their 
self-love becomes interested to support* We allude not 
to fanaticism in the dogmas of Christianity, but a fanaticism 
that is ready to go aU lengths in palliation and support 
of the most revoling doctrines of Hindoo superstition. 
This turn of mind, of which we have perceived many traces 
in the writings of Europeans who have been in India, na- 
turally arises from a wish to dignify those things which have 
been the subject of their studies and investigation ; and 
might be excused or pitied did it not lead to laxity of moral 
reasoning, and to sneers at real religion. Their religion is 
one monstrous tissue of absurdity and cruelty — absttrd in 
doctrine, cruel in practice ; which no ingenuity in aU 
legoryy and no sophistry, can make recondleahle with 
common sense and humanity ! Prudence may induce us 
to tolerate, prudence may induce us to be silent, but it is 
too much to speak of such a system with respect. Such 
conduct cannot but excite indignation. 

** There may be purposes to be served, and vanities to 
be gratified ; — the Philologist, who has mastered the diffi- 
culties of Sanscrit, and explored with tedious care the 
occult meaning of Hindoo Mythology, may gratify the pride 
of a futile labour by a preposterous estimation of the value 
of his attainments.: — the cold Politician^ who looks only to 
the preservation of power, may be tremblingly anxious to 
prevent all alarm, and to throw discredit upon all attempts 
conversion : — and the concealed Unbeliever in Christianity 
may be delighted at an opportuity of instituting pre- 
sumptuous and impious comparisons ; or insinuating that, 
when once the order of nature is quitted, there is no rule 

BHtUh Humanity. 385 

of judgment, and one mystery and one miracle u prima facie 
as probable as another. But every candid believer, every 
friend to morals, to human nature, and to happiness, ought 
severely to examine his own mind, and deeply pause, before 
he is led away by literary sseal and vanity, by political in- 
terest and prejudice, or by polemical hate, to step forward 
the concealed or the avowed defender of a system that is 
degrading to man, and has entailed slavery, wickedness, 
and misery upon millions of millions ofmen^ 

The inhumanity of the [Native police shows the difficulty 
of allowing this custom to continue, consistently with the 
principles of justice and the well-being of society. On this 
subject it is remarked, in one of the Calcutta Papers, '* In 
order to prevent the continuance of these inhuman prac- 
tices, we deemed it right to call attention to them, and to 
suggest the necessity of adopting some regulations, making 
it incumbent on the Brahmuns to have the authority of a 
Native doctor, at least for pronouncing a fellow^creature so 
far past the hope of recovery as to justify, according to 
their own laws and customs, the administration of the inhu*- 
man ceremony adverted to. But we are told there is no 
necessity for this ; and why ? because the John Bull is 
persuaded that the cruel practices of Hindoism are, in 
many instances, exaggerated, therefore prevention and in- 
quiry are unnecessary ! We are told that police peons are 
stationed at the Ghauts to prevent such murderous scenes 
as are said to occur. These, it must be admitted by all 
who know their character, are bad securities against the 
perpetration of inhumanity : fellows who look on with the 
utmost indifference at any scene of cruelty, whether it be a 
widow burning, a man drowning, or a poor diseased crea- 
ture suffocated by a Brahmun. As for their reporting to a 
Coroner any thing of the kind, even if they did so (which 
we believe they would not), be has no control beyond the 
Mahratta ditch ; nor indeed have the police peons above 
referred to, for they are under the jurisdiction of the Zillah 
magistrates. We hope the Zillah magistrates will deem it 
their duty to institute some inquiry into this matter ; for 
humanity loudly demands it." (Hurk. Aug. 25, 1825). - 

Palliation of the murderous nature of this rite appears 
absurd. A correspondent, in one of the public papers, proves 
that no dependence can be placed on the unprincipled 
Native officers. **The idea of chokedars interfering in this 
business appears ridiculous to those who are at all ac- 

336 India s Cries to 

quainted with the nature of the country. I have frequently 
passed a dozen villages and Ghauts without seeing or hear^ 
ing of a single chokedar. How are these people to inform 
the Coroner, or any body else, of what is passing in these 
places, when they themselves are often ignorant of it? 
Unless there be a particular and strict injunction laid upon 
them by the higher powers (which I do not suppose is the 
case), it is absurd to suppose they would interfere in such 
cases. ( A. Subscriber)."* 

The Calcutta John Bull thus attempts to palliate these 
evils : — ''We feel at all times a satisfaction in being enabled 
to vindicate the Native, and particularly the Brahminical 
character, from the charges so often thrown upon it, as dis- 
figured by all that is dishonest, selfish, and cruel ; but we 
withhold not our assent to the assertion that there is much 
to lament over, after all that has been exaggerated has 
been reduced within the fair proportions of truth. We 
leave to the indiscriminate admirer of all that is Hindoo to 
speak his praises of a faith which is a disgrace to human 
reason, and a lamentable instance of human folly ; and to 
arrogate to its priests virtues altogether incompatible with 
the doctrines and duties which, as ministers of this religion, 
they must teach and practice. But it is possible to err on 
the other side : and when the Brahmuns were represented as 
in the actual commission of murder, and that, as we are 
led to understand, within the very jurisdiction of the Su- 
preme Court of Calcutta, we found that inquiry into the 
subject was due, if not to them, at least to the character of 
British justice itself. The fact of a person being stationed 
at the Ghauts within the jurisdiction, whose business it is, 
among other duties, to prevent the rights of Hindoo sepul- 
ture being given to any one bearing the marks of a violent 
death, until due investigation should be made, certainly 
seems to us altogether irreconcileable with the alleged oc- 
currence of Brahmuns causing the death of Natives brought 

♦ "When the father of a Hindoo family is ill, and conceived to be past 
hope of recovery, it is not unusual for the sons to take him to the 
side of a river, and suffocate him in the mud ; and then, by way of pre- 
venting the widow from sharing in his property, they work upon her 
superstitious fears to induce her to burn herself with his body. Yet 
persons are not wanting who will talk of the innocence of a superstition 
that authorises children to smother their father and burn their mother." 
Wheatley's Letter to the President of "the Board of Control on the 
latent Resources of India. Ori. Her. vol. i. p. 284. 

British Humanity - 9SI 

to Ifae rifer side to €Kpire» before the disease, was far from 
having ^OTercome the vital energies. 

'* It is a question, not unaccompanied with difficulty, to 
say the precise moment at which death has assuredly made 
good his positioiiy.if we may so speak. .And admitting 
that, in cases where this is clear, the practice referred to is 
fiot to be interfered with, as arising out of the religion of the 
Natives, some caution we think is requisite in adOBxing the 
stigma of murder to the acts of the Brahmuns. We readilff 
admit J however, that a prtwticef which on mamy. accounts 
we stwuld rejoice to see abolished, may he, and no doubt 
tSy perverted to the most inhuman purposes. The tes- 
timony supporting this is too strong to be denied ; but we 
have as little doubt that where the proof is dear, that the 
officiating Brahmuns contributed in any way to hasten, the 
death of the sufferer under disease, punishment would be 
awarded them both in Calcutta and in the Mofussil, where 
they persisted in extinguishing life against the entreaties 
and protestations of the sick man. The remark that, in 
the case of. Natives being seized with the Cholera Morbus, 
there is an imminent risk that before the constitution can 
rally the cruel rites of Hindoism may have extinguished 
the only chance of life remaining, is highly deserving notice; 
It points to circumstances demanding a more than ordinary 
vigilance on the part of those whose may be to pre- 
vent the violation of the laws, as they provide for the last 
rites that are to be performed by a dying Hindoo; and, if 
those officers are not clothed with sufficient authority to act 
in such cases, every humane and Christian motive concurs 
in demanding that they should." 

To this it is replied, by the Editor of the India Gazette, 
— '** The existence of the inhuman practice complained of 
is no longer denied : but the writer evidently labours under 
a very important mistake on the subject. He seems to 
think that the only danger of murder resulting from it is, 
that the Brahmuns may administer this inhuman rite to 
those who are not actually dead, owing to the difficulty, 
where great and sudden prostration of strength, is a symp- 
tom of the disease, of ascertaining the precise moment 
when death rhas assuredly made good his position.' From 
this it would appear that the writer imagines that the 
Brahmuns never do administer this barbarous ceremony 
until their victim is pronounced dead, or until they actually 
think him so : but the fact is, that it is by no means neces- 


98S In^9 Crm to 

fuaj tluit tl» poor cfeature sboidd be dend^ sor do ibfBf 
wait for this. The moment he is pronoaneed in a danger* 
0118 state by any Native Doctor, or even by themselves, he 
is honied down to the river, and snbjeeted to a tareatment, 
enoaffh in itself, even in a disorder by no means daag^erons, 
to bnng oh immediate dea^, as it no donbt often does^ 
But if the writer wants a proof of the little reUance to be 
placed on the judgment or hunnmity of those who {nro- 
nounee these miserable victims of a barbarous superstition 
to be past the hope of recovery, and tiierefore direct them 
to be treated as we have described, he will find it in a Snb^ 
scriber's letter (p. 313). Was he aware that Matty who hav€ 
endured these brutal ceremaniee, an the plea that they were 
dying, have actually recovered ? that their recovery en^ 
tails disgrace on them ? and that whole villages of these 
degraded Hindoos exist within a day's journey ef us9 
We confess with shame that we were igoorant of the fact; 
but it speaks volumes as to the necessity of some regida* 
tion to prevent the tinhiq>py victims of a dreadful disease 
from being, under false {Mretexts that they are in a state in 
which Hindoo superstition enjoins it, subjected to the 
cruelties we have denounced. If it should be deemed an 
uigustifiable interference with rel^^ious prejudice, to prolHf 
bit the application of Gunga labh to any but those who are 
actually dead, still it might be incumbent on the Brahmons 
to have the sanction of tke native doctors appointed by the 
Company, before they could perform the rite: and surely 
'if it is illegal in the case of the burning of widows to use 
fcNTce, it must be equally so in that we are noticing/' 

** Since our last,'' says another public Journal in Gali^rtta, . 
"the John Bull has put forth the following notice re^ 
q^ecting the Ghaut Murders as denounced by us : — ' A Cor- 
respcmdent has pointed out to us that the person (not 
property speaking a Police Peon) stationed at the Ghauts, 
whose business is to superintend the burning, &c., of bodies, 
always prevents those that are thought there from bring 
disposea of according to the Hindoo customs, diould any 
marks of yiolence appear on them, until the same is duly 
reported to the proper authorities, with whose duties it 
would be obviously incompatible to permit the alleged 
murderous practice of the Brahmuns/ The absurdity ci 
regarding any regulations like the above as a security 
against the cruelties we have stated must be suflElciently eap^ 
parent to anyone at aH acquainted with the subject. If 

BriiM HumemUy. 389 

maiks of tiolenee appear, tlam it seems the eircunsta&oe 
is reported to the proper aaihoritiea by the Peons (not Po» 
Kee) at the Ghauts ; bat who ever heard of marks of yio« 
lence being produced by suffocating a sick mm with mud 
and water; and eoq>osing him, while under the influence of 
a dangerous disease, to the beat of the sun and the vicis- 
situdes of the weather, both before and after the adminis- 
tration of these destractive ceremonies ? It is in this man- 
ner that the murders alluded to are perpetrated, and the 
fact has indeed been partly acknowledged to us by a Hindoo, 
and defended* He denied that any but old mbn were 
RELUCTANT VICTIMS of these cruelties ; but witik respect 
to them, he said, however they might entreat or implore 
to be Sieved or he allowed to die at homoy they were not 
Ketened to, hut forced to the water side, to receive what is, 
with the Hindoos, deemedmore importantthan the eaotreme 
unction of the Romidt church. But we disbelieve tUs ; 
for we have since been informed by a friend, who witnessed 
a circumstance of this kind, that old or young, wiUing or 
unwHUng, are equally eubfected to this inhuman mode of 
terminating their eanstence. It is said that the Native 
Doctor employed by the £unily first pronounces the siek 
individual incurable ; but it is needless to say that this is no 
sofficient security against the perpetration of tfiese mur- 
derous rites, in cases where, but for them, the patient might 
leoover. If it would not be going iurther than the Go- 
vernment might feel justifiable, it would he a wise €md hu^ 
mane Regulation, toprohihit the administration of Qunga 
jal (Ganges water) until the patient has actually expired^ 
In order not to dbock the prejudices of the Hindoos, with 
respect to its importance as to future beatitude that they 
should die by the water side, it might still be permitted 
them to carry the sick who are dangerously ill down to the 
liver side, provided they kept them there under shelter, and 
not exposed as they now are, without covering, to the noon- 
dby sun or a trojpical shower ; enough of themselves to pro* 
duce a fatal termination of any disease, without the other bar* 
barousaids; the application of which we wouldhaveprevented 
if possible. It would be well for those who profess Chris- 
tianity, and would be thought as humane as their neighbours, 
to inquire into the subject of the evils to which we have 
endeavoured to call the notice of the Authorities, before 
they make light of them and deny the attempt to provide 
any remedy for them. They wpuld not thm betray their 

z 2 

340 ItidUs Criss io 

ignorance,* bj talking* of Police Peons and the Coronet of 
Galcalta as the safeguards against inhaman practices, over 
niiich they have no manner of control/ There appears; by 
the experi^ice of the regulation and consequent tegalissa-' 
tion of Suttees in India, no intermediate measure i^aUj 
beneficial to society, between entire neglect of the practice 
and its abolition as murder. The dead body might be 
brought to tiie river, but if the sick lie at the mercy of 
Native Doctors, Darogahs, Peons, See., there can be no 
security that they will not be murdered by this cruel rite. 
The prohibition of the exposure of the sick appears the 
dictate of justice and humanity,* 

The propriety of oAolpUng mea»wren for the melioration 
of these etdls, and even for the suppression of the practice^ 
has engaged the attention of many* The opinion of the 
Editors of the India Gazette and the Calcutta John Biill 
has been given ; the Bengal Hurkaru for Aug. 24, 1825, 
contains the following judicious remarks: — '' Ohaut Mur- 
ders. — From all we can learn on the distressing subject, 
the Cholera rages among the natives with unabated fuiy. 
It appears, from an expression in the John Bull, that regular 
reports are received from the different Ghauts (where, we 
presume, the bodies of the dead are consumed) of the 
extent of the mortality. If this be the case, we wish at 
the same time that reports could be furnished of the num- 
ber of sick brought down to these Ghauts to be murdered 
by those legalized butchers of their fellow creatures, the 
Brahmutts, under the pretence that they are past all hope 
of recovery. In this state, we understand, many are 
brought to the river side, and their existence quickly put an 

* *< It is scarcely credible that so horrible ao abuse of a superstitious 
custom should be allowed to exist iu the presence of European residents 
and the vicinity of Magistrates, who have, in this case, nothing to do but 
to interpose for the preservation of life, without interfering with any 
Hindoo Law. What shall we think of that spirit of religious toleratior 
jvhich idlows the young and strong, as soon as disease attacks them, to * 
be carried down to the water's edge, and there stifled with mud, or mad- 
dened by the burning sun, or left at low water mark as night comes on ? 
What shall we think of the liberal humanity of Magistrates, which, 
rathw than meddle with a native custom, would stand by and see a 
9traggyj]g and imploring victim, whose health might be restored bv a few 
hours' care, placed breast high in the advancing tide and overwhelmed 
with slime and water till his feeble cries are silenced for ever ? Such 
scenes are witnessed by those who pass the ghauts or flights of steps 
which lead down to the Ganges/' (See Review of Indians Cries, 1st edit.. 
MMMh. Rfip. Dec. 1829.) , ' 

BriiiA Hum0nit^. 841 

«nito-bTth«>^adiriiiiktrati«m of what is ealled Chmgajci; 
which means dippiug the poor unhappy victims of a destroy- 
ing superstition under water, and plentifully stuffing their 
mouths with the mud of the Ganges. The same policy 
which restrains the Government from any attempt to pro- 
hibit the burning of widows on the funeral pile, may pos- 
sibly operate to prevent any attempt to put a stop to the 
cruelties we have described; but, at least, some means 
might be taken to ascertain the fact that the unkippy beings 
put out of the world, in a manner so revolting to humanity, 
are actually in articulo mortis when brought down to be 
submitted to this last inhuman ceremony : for unless they 
are, we understand^ those engaged in putting a period to 
their exiistence would be liable to the penalty attaching to 
the crime of murder. In cases where the miserable 
victim is capable of showing any reluctance to be so sacri- 
ficed, and does evince it, interference to prevent it would 
surely be more than justifiable, if would become a sacred 
duty, the neglect cf which would not be merely cruel but 
criminal. But how is this to be discerned ? or who is to 
Ibok after it ? The people in authority about the Ghauts^ 
which are the scenes of such sacrifices, the chokedars, &c., 
are genehdly, we believe, Hindoos, and by no means likely 
to dischai^e this duty faithftilly, even if it be enjoined on 
them, which we greatly doubt Who then is to perform 
it ? This is a question which we presume the Zillah Ma- 
gistrates can best answer ; but humanity loudly demands 
that the matter should be investigated ; and we hope it wiU 
attract their attention, Where are all the Native Doctors 
about whom we heard so much in former days when the 
Cholera prevailed ? Many of these, we suppose, are Mus- 
sulmans, and, as they have no prejudice in favour of the in- 
human practice we have adverted to, they might be very 
properly employed to prevent it, where interference is 
deemed justifiable. We imagine there could be no impe- 
diment to the promulgation of an otder to this eflect : — 
That before any poor unfortunate being should be dragged 
down to the Ghauts to be suffocated by the Brahmuns, it 
should be incumbent on them to have the authority of the 
Native Doctor, in the same manner that they are compelled 
to obtain the sanction of a Magistrate to the burning of a 
widow. We hope this subject will receive the consideration 
it merits. We may be wrong in supposing there is a re- 
medy for the evil, but we have felt it our duty to endeavour 

SCi Indies Crk$ to 

to bring the tnbjeet forward, in order tilnt some means maj 
be speedily devised to check the perpetration of these k^gpal- 
iaed muadbrs, if the entire prevention of them should be 
deemed impossible.'' 

" The exposure of the sick by the side of the CSanges 
snrely requires a regalation secnring greater comforts to 
these dying persons. Snch a regolaticm might easily be 
firamed as would gradually put a stop to these dreadful 
cruelties inflicted on persons in the agonies of death, and 
preventing the recovery of others suffering under temporary 
maladies. Highly honourable as is the determination of 
Grovemment not to interpose in the religion of their Indian 
subjects,-— yef cruelties and murdere, not authorized hy 
the Hindoo laws, have stkrely no claim to toleration.*** 

To legalize a cruel practice, pregnant with murder, is a 
highly exceptionable policy. The concession here made is 
very important, viz. — ** The chokedars, ftc, are generally , 
we believe, Hindoos, and by no meane likely to diseharae 
this duty faithfully, even if it be enjoined on them." The 

E reservation of life is the imperious duty of a well regu- 
ited Govemment,t and this cannot be accomplished with 
the permission of the practice. Hundreds and thousands 
have been murdered by the permission of Suttees. The 
peipetrators of these customs are g^lty of murder — 

'' Murder most foul, strange^ and unnatural." 

The propriety and utUity of medictd attention to the 
sick in the circumstances here contemplated is deserving 
of particular regard. ** The number of people in Calcutta 
who fell victims to the Cholera in the course of this week 
(says the Editor of the Somachar Durpun, Sep. 8, 1825) 
has been estimated at an average of four hundred a day. 
Many, we believe, attacked witii a slight sickness, give 
themselves up to death, through fear ; tiie more so when 

* Remarks on the Immolations of India (Parbury), pr23. 
t ** When the Russian Government caused to be conveyed back to 
Japan a number of its mariners who had been shipwrecked on the Ru^ 
sian coast, the Japanese Government thanked them ; but observed^ at the «r . 
same time, that they might either leave them or take them back a$ they 
might think Jit. These ar0 the sentiments of an ignorant and barbarous 
policy, though th^ hate sometimes been mistaken for greatness of mind. 
aui no sentiment is great that is not humane, and no nation is civilized 
whose government is not solicitous for the safety of the citizens/' 
On. HenOd. Vol. ii. p. 194. 

Briii$h BumoMhf. 343 

ibfyy are tdken iot tfie riTer, which makes them deqmir of 
life* and thus is Iheir end hastened. We have known that 
those who immediately after the attack of the disease ap- 
plied to European Doctors have been recovered by their 
medical assistance; it is indeed a matter of great pity that 
perskons should not apply for medicine till it is too late. 
This disorder has also prevailed at Serampore and its neighs 
bouring villages* but not with much violence. Those pa- 
tients to whom we have given medicine in the early stage 
of the disease have recovered ; and we are happy to say 
that, by our appointing a Physician and rendering medical 
€tasisiance, many lives have been saved. Two days since 
a patient of the Boistub caste was found lying helpless on 
jToognl Uddies Ghaut at Serampore* and we immediately 
sent oar Doctor to afford him relief; and on his giving the 
poor man some medicine he recovered on the third day.** 

The following circumstance shows the good effects of 
the friendly interference of Europeans in India* in prevent- 
ing Hindoo cruelty to the sick: — **A bearer who had 
lived for a long time in a family was taken ill* and was on 
the point of being carried to the banks of the river* for the 
purpose^of being given over to the care of the Ganges* to 
be conveyed to heaven. Before he was taken away* he re- 
quested to be allowed to speak to his old mistress ; and* on 
being taken to her* he begged her to interfere to procure 
for him a respite of three days. On her speaking* some 
remarks were made by his friends* as to the expense which 
would be incurred if they were to comply with this re* 
quest! His mistress promised to pay all the expense that 
mi^t be incurred ; and the result was* that the man who 
was so near death five or six years ago is now alive in Cal- 
cutta in the execution of his business.''* 

A missionary writes on the Ganges :— - 

** Two or three days ago* I witnessed a scene more shock- 
ing than any I ever saw in this place. A poor weaver was 
brought here* and cast into the river* with a pan full of 
water tied round his waist to make him sink; but the stream 
was shallow* and he was taken out* after being in the 
water a day and a night. Hearing of the circumstance* I 
went to him* and found the poor man only affected with 
rheumatic pains. I had him brought to my house* and I 
hope he will be restored to health in a fortnight. What 

* Beng. Hurk. Aug. 1823. Asi. Joum.* March, 1824. 

344' Indian Cries to 

adds to the hoitor of this narration, is, that the perpetrators • 
of this intended murder were the mother and lurother of the* 
unhappy Hindoo V 

On this interesting subject, which has engaged the atten- 
tion of humane gentlemen in India, and of which more 
will be seen in the appendix, it may be interesting to insert 
an extract from a communication of the Rev. A. Sutton, 
of Balasore, Orissa, March, 1827. " It is now a matter of 
conscience whether to attend to those who require medi- 
cine for the body^ or to seek after those who will hear for 
their souls. Perhaps some will say, ' I think there is no 
room for hesitation when a person is dying, and you can 
possibly give him assistance which will save his life ; it 
seems clear enough*' Perhaps if that individual could feel 
the responsibility which rests upon a missionary, to preach 
as far as he can among the Heathen the unsearchable 
riches of Christ, he would hesitate as I do. I have met 
with an instance of real gratitude to day. A poor fisher- 
man whom I was successful in curing, not only expressed 
himself thankful, but brought a nice dish of fish for my 
breakfast, as the first fruits of his recovery. My* fame as a 
doctor, of both bodies and souls, seems to be widely ex-> 
tending ; for I have had people with all sorts of diseases 
^d accidents to cure. With surgical cases I of course 

can do nothing, but refer them to the Doctor. Mr. B 

was surprised the other morning, while walking out for 
health, to see the people come to me as though I had been 
twenty years in the place. An old lady, who brought her 
child to be cured of cholera, gave as her reason that she 
had heard of my fame. I visited a young woman who was 
attacked with cholera, aud just as she was recovering her 
husband was seized with it. The mother exclaimed, ' Oh^ 
Sir, she is well enough ! but save my son,* and instantly 
fell at my feet, with both hands joined, to entreat me. I 
was successful in both cases. The son is now fast recover- 
ing, and the old lady is the most grateful Hindoo I have 
met with. Calling to take some sago (which, notwithstand- 
ing caste, he ate), she fell at my feet, gratefully exclaiming, 
' Ah, Sir, you have preserved my boy.' " 

The following letter from a native was addressed to the 
Rev. W. Bampton^ at Juggernaut, and shows the accept- 
ableness of kind attention to the Hindoos in sickness. The' 
original now lies before the author i*-' 

British HumanUy. 34S 



I have the honour to acquaint you that I am Sick 
by the fever this for cainiot stand nor walk neither Rise from slip, but 
pass yesterday at Evening^ here did you order if will you go to-morrow 
then I will give you some physic, and I cannot go for my misfortune and 
did not Cure, therefore I pray before you I am very poor man and orphan 
So Gracious Grant me grace to aboid from this fever and always to be 
nourished as any Room. I am Sir your Most obedient humble Servant 
Fukeerchunder Doss." 

'^ It is pleasant to my feelings/' says a late resident in 
India, in a letter dated Salisbury, May, 1828, *' that I have 
ever been made the instrument of delivering any of the 
Hindoos from such horrid deaths. It used to cost me about 
three rupees a month for medicine* I always found then^ 
willing to take it ; and in many instances they came to our 
bouse for it, so that my husband has been called up twice in 
a night to administer medicine to the sick. When we have 
gone out an hour in the morning, we have frequently found 
three or four in the verandah waiting our return ; but these 
natives had been accustomed to receive medicine from the 
Mission family. I think a missionary in another part of the 
country would find a little difficulty to get the natives to 
take medicine from a strange person ; but he must act in 
that case as in all others, with patience and perseverence* 
The Mission House at Serampore has always been, and 
still is, an asylum for the sick and distressed. Mrs. M 
is quite a nursing mother to the natives. When I left 
India, our dear brethren had a fine boy under their care that 
was found by the river side, left there to perish, but was 
taken up by a Christian woman, and put into the Bengalee 
school. He has since been educated in the college, and is 
now preiaohing the gospel to his countrymen. I wish I had 
property, I would establish a Humane Society for the sick 
in India, and again administer medicine to them myself. I 
hope I shall meet many of them in a better world, where 
medicine will not be needed. My heart's desire and prayer 
to God for them is, that they may be saved.""* 

'' In the course of this day's march," says the late Bishop 
Heber, when near Shahjebanpore, ** a circumstance occurred 
which proves I think how much the people of this country 
look up to the English for help and counisel in all emer- 
gencies. I was going along a jungly piece of road, when I 

* See also G. B. Repos. Ap. 1829, p. 157. , 

S4S htdids Criu <# 

a little cloiter of travellers of the lower class snrrooiid* 
log somebody on the ground. As soon as they saw me» 
they immediately ran up, saying that one of their firienda 
was sick, and they begged me to look at him and give him 
medicine. What struck me was» the immediate impulse 
which led these men to suppose^ on seeing a European 
riding along the road» that he was likely to b^lp and advise 
them ! Surely, if this opinion is general* it must be one of 
the best holds we have on our Indian empire."'* . 

** At Broach,'' says the same intelligent traveller, **\% one 
of those remarkable institutions which have made a good 
deal of noise in Europe, as instances of Hindoo ^ne- 
volence to inferior animals ; / mean ho9pitaU for sick and 
in/lrm beasts, birds, and insects. I was not able to visit it, 
but Mr. Corsellis described it as a very dirty and neglected 
place, which, though it has considerable endowments in 
lands, only serves to enrich the Brahmuns who manage it* 
They have really animals of several diflerent kinds there, 
not only those which are accounted sacred by the Hindoos, 
as monkeys, peacocks, &c., but horses, dogs, and cats; and 
they have also in little boxes an assortment of lice and fleas* 
It is not true that they feed those pensioners on the flesh of 
beggars hired for the purpose. The Brahmuns say that in- 
sects, as well as the other inmates of their infirmary, are fed 
with vegetables only, as rice, &c. How the insects thrive 
I did not hear ; but the old horses and dogs, nay the pea* 
cocks and apes, are aQowed to starve ; the only creatures 
said to be in any tolerable plight are some milch cows, 
which may be kept from other motives than charity ."f 

The beneficial influence of Christianity, even in an in* 
direct manner, appears in the real benevoknce of the Bajah 
of Tanjore (Swartz's pupil), and forms a' striking contrast 
to this attention to animals, and insects, when uie human 
species are neglected. " Chatteram is a Hindoo cha- 
ritable institution, established by the present Rajah, not 
merely for the maintenance of Brahmuns, but for the poor 
of every description. This charitable institution has saved 
many hundreds lErom perishing, when a severe famine and 
the cholera prevailed some years ago. There Bare also two 
hospitals attached to it, one for men, and another for women 
suffering by sickness.''^: On the necessity and utility of 

* Joum., rol. i. p. 536. See also, p. 466. 
t Vol. ii. p. 171. t Vol. ii. p. 461. 

Briii$k Numanity. M7 

efforts of tfiii oatuio generaUy tfarongfaoiit ladia, mm 
the Appendix. 

These statements admit of abundant confirmation/ When 
shall Britain hear the voice of reason and humanity, and 
above all of Christiaiiity, demanding from her the snp* 
pression of every inhuman and mnrderons custom in India? 

Colonel Dow, in his *' History of Hindostan/' has a 
section entitled ** A Plan for restoring Bengal to its former 
prosperity/' in which he says, ** All religions must be tole- 
rated in Bengal, except in the practice of wme inhuman 
customs f which the Mahamedans have already in a great 
measure destroyed. We must not permit young widows in 
their virtuous enthusiasm to throw themselves on thefune* 
ralpile of their dead husbands; nor the sick and aged to 
be drowned when their friends despair of their lives. 
7%ese are particular usages^ established by time into a 
laWf which our humanity must destroy. Let no women 
bum themselves with their husbands^ or dying persons be 
exposed by their friends. To leave the natives to their 
own laws would be to consign them to anarchy and con> 

Dr. Buchanan remarks, upon the above suggestions, — * 
'^ How many thousands of our subjects in Beo^ have per- 
ished in the flames, and in the river, since the period when 
the above sentence was written! How many thousand 
lives would have been preserved, had the voice of this writer 
been attended to by the nation! So far from the Suttee 
being a voluntary act on the part of the widow, she is some- 
times forcibly detained that she may not dishonour her 
family* Towns, as Nuddea on the Ganges, &c., are appro- 
priated for the residence of such as have run away, and thus 
degraded themselves and lost their caste. The immersion 
of half the body of a person, supposed to be dying, in the 
water of the Ganges, must often occasion premature death. 
It is optional, not commanded. Though very comm<m on 
the banks of the Ganges, it is reprobated in many places at 
a distance from it The abolition of it would not be mora 
difficult than that of the Sahamoronr(Suttee).''t 

"The rwnoval,'' says the late Rev. W. Ward, "of the 
dying to the banks of the Gauges, — the voluntary immola- 

♦ Vol. iii. pp. 128—143. 

t Mem. £cc. Esta. for firitish India, pp. 94. 100. S«e also Grant'f 
Obs. on the State of Society in India, Par. Papers, 1813, p. 60. 

d^ India'M Cries to 

tions at places the resort of p]lgriin89---<'and the btnmiag df 
widows alive, entail so much misery on the .Hindoos that 
every humane heart is rent in pieces whenever these horrid 
practices are brought into public notice. The great suc- 
cess which has attended the benevolent exertions of Go* 
vemment, in certain cases, encourages ns to hope that the 
hand of mercy will, sooner or later, heal the wounds of a 
conntry bleeding at every pore from the fangs of super- 
stition. These cmelties can have so little sanction from any 
form of religion, are so abhorrent to every humane feeling, 
and have in some instances been prevented with so much 
ease, that one can scarcely forbear wishing that more may 
be done to prevent such plain violations of the duties men 
owe to, themselves and to society.^* 

The Rev. J. H. Hough, Chaplain on the Madras Estab* 
lishment, in his '* Reply to the Abbe Dubois,^' demon- 
strates the facility of the suppression of Hindoo cruelties : — 
** I maintain the abolition of every practice that outrages 
the feelings and sjrmpatiiies of human nature, and of which 
British law would take cognizance, would tend to confirm 
our political power in the East. It might alienate the 
minds of the interested few who profit by tbesei mmolations ; 
but it would conciliate the bulk of the Natives, and attach 
them more cordially to our Government. Remove every 
barbarous superstition that paralyses the afTections of the 
soul, and you will instantly perceive the feelings of humanity 
begin to revive. Each cord entwined about the heart will 
soon vibrate to the sounds of parental, filial, and fraternal 
love; and even the Hindoo, no longer a misanthrope, or 
deaf and blind to the claims of society, shall own and rejoice 
in the rels^tive ties by which man is bound to man. The 
heart-melting gratitude with which the Rajpoot mothers 
presented at tiie feet of Colonel Walker the children pre* 
served through his humane perseverence ;t the conduct of 
the widow, rescued from the Aineral pile at Chicacole, 
towards her benefactress, and the subsequent behaviour of 
her relatives,}: are alone sufficient to vindicate the Hindoos' 
claims to the feelings of humanity, and to show that these 
anticipations will, in all human probability, be realized, 

♦ View of the Hindoos, vol. iii. p. 284. 
t See Infenticide in India, p. 60 ; and Book ii. p. 173. 
X A>oman was rescued by a lady and afterwards received by her 
friends. Her gratitude was very great. 

BrkuhHumamty. 840 

when the obstructioiiB tkat now junevent the exercise of 
those feelings shall be done away/'^ 

** As to the practioabiiity of suppressing Hiis wretched 
cnstom/' says the ' Rev: S. Sutton, late Missionary in Ben<« 
gal, *' I am scarcely capable of giving an opinion. Every 
Indian custom appears so gigantic in its nature, and is so 
firmly imbedded in the affections of the people, that human 
means appear but little in opposing it Two measures may 
be pointed out which are certainly lawful in themselves, 
and which can be immediately put into execution without 
the aid of the civil power. The first is, small pmnphlets 
might be written on this subject, both in English and the 
native lauguages, and these should be extensively circulated 
among Europeans and Hindoos ; by this means a sjiait of 
inquiry will probably arise, and it will become a matter of 
public discussion. The second measure is the one you have 
alluded to, namely a Humane Society. I have known 
many cases where individual benevolence has been extended 
towards lepers, and others, who have been left to perish ; 
but, if a general Society cotdd. he formed for this object in 
the Metropolis of British India, it wotddrsoon extend its 
ramifications to all parts of the empire^ and the vicUms 
snatched from the jaws of destruction by its if^uence 
would richly repay it for its laiours. And what is more 
consonant with Christianity than ihial The Christian is 
fully taught by the Gospel to relieve distress where v^ he 
finds it, without any regard to naibe or country." 

The editor of the Christian Observer remarks, respeotr 
ing the sanguinary rites of the Hindoo, *^ They are of a 
nature too criminial to be permitted under any regular 
government. It is impossible to regard without horror the 
murders and atrocities which are openly practised in India 
under the name of religion. These are practices which 
come under the designation of enormous crimes, and ought 
not to exist under a British Government, and which it might 
be proved that Government have it in their pow^ easily 
and safely to siippress."t 

The late C. Grant, Esq., in a letter dated Sep. 1811, 
thus expresses himself on this subject: ** I vi^ould not be 
understood to imply that the British Government has done 
ell that it mi^t and ought to do, in relation to the horrid 
superstition (the worship of Juggernaut) in questipn. / 

,1 1 ^ .. , I I ,,. , , , . . ^. -.,. - , h, h . 

^ * Hough's Reply to the Abbe Dubois> p. 282. f March, 1813. 

960 ImJims Cri$$ to 

tjhily a$ a Qovmrmmenif we might ami ekmM 
fofrfrid all immolatian of hmMm vieHnu^ or sacrifice in 
mmf mode ef hmman Vfe; and that without using com^ 
ptMon or violating the toleration Mowed to the Hin* 
deoi. It might do far more than it has yet done for the 
aafe and gradual introduction and diffurion of Gospel fight 
in India — ^the only effectual cure for all the deplon^le 
evils of iddatiy and immorality which exist there. It has 
long been an interestmg subject to me, and I regret I have 
not been able to render more senrice to a cause whicht weU 
understood, ought to be supported by the Politician and the 
Cfaaristian, since it is recommended by the soundest dictates 
of policy^ as veil as by the infinitely higher considerations 
of true religion."* 

The late Hon. J. H. Harington, Member of CounciU 
Calcutta^ in a highly interesting document relative to the 
Suttee, justly ob^rres, ** As far as the New Begalation 
(enforced at Sau|^r by a military guard) opposed an estab^ 
lished usage, origmating in superstition, it may be considered 
a precedent for prohibiting and punishing other inhuman 
practices of a superstitious nature* As I bave never heard 
of any resistance being offered, or objection made to the 
execution of the penal law aboye-mentioned, I cannot but 
think it affords some ground of presumption that other su» 
perstitious and inhuman practices, such particularly as the 
Suttee sacrifice, though sanctioned in a certain degree by 
the shastra and by popular opinion, might be suppressed 
by a legislative enactment with equal safe^apd suecess."t 

Lord Teignmouth, in his interesting Pamphlet before 

Koted, shows the humane and beneficial influence of the 
itish 6t>vernment in India, in aboUshing various customs 
opposed to sound reason and the true interests of the people.! 
Ought not Britain to prosecute this work of mercy, and 
dbonsh every inhuman custom that has originated in igno* 
ranee and superstitbn ? *' Usages originating in Hindoo 
superstition and customs of immemorial prescription have 
been discountenanced by the British Administration in 
Bengal ; whilst the laws of the Mahomedans, which derive 
their authority firom the Koran, have been modified, or, in 
effect, altered, in various instances. 

'' In trial for murder, the Mahomedan law officers are 
t , . , ■ p — ^ - 

* iteview!of Pilgrim Tax in India, Bap. Mag. April, 1828. f See Par. 
Papcn, on te Suttee, Jnly, 1835, roh ▼. p. 8—18. t F. 83--88. 

Briiuh Humamiy. WL 

rdquirad to deU? er tlieir opidbiis, aceefdiog^ ta tlie doetrisei 
^ certain learned expoaiton of the law named in the regi^ 
ktions ; bat, as these expositors admit many distinotions as 
to the mode of coasmitting aiarder, the British GoT^nment 
has enacted (Reg. 9, A. D. 1788, S. 75), that no regard 
shall be paid to these distinctfons ; bnt the intention of the 
eriminaU and not the manner or instrument of perpetratbn, 
shall eonstitate the nde for determining the ponudment. 
Tlie Mahomedan law considers the reUgiaus penuanon of 
witnesses as a bar to the canvictioH or condemnation of a 
prisoner 9 or. in other wovds, rejects the testimony of Uiil« 
doos. The British Goyerament has most jnstly abrogated 
a distinction calenlated to d^Bat the ends of public justice. 
A person deliberately intending to murder one individual, 
and aoddendy killing another, is not by the Mahomedan 
kw held liable to the punishment of murder. The Regula- 
tions, in oppositi(m to Ibis rule, declare the homicide under 
such circumstances murder, and the punishment death. A 
mmrdeMT, though fully convicted, might escape tlie punish- 
mesA due to his crime, by obtaining pardon of^ or from a 
oompromise witk, such heirs of the deceased as were en^ 
titled to demand retalitttion. According to an exposition 
of the Mahomedan law a father or mother, or grandfather 
or grandmother, wilfully murdermg their ch3d or grandchild, 
or any person of whom their cmld or gprandchUd may be 
heirs, cannot BsSer death by the law of Kissaas^ or Retalia- 
tion ; nor can such a sentence be passed against a master 
for the murder of his slave appropriated by his owners to the 
service of the public, nor against a person wilfully killing 
another at the desire of die party slain, ftc. The Gover- 
nor in Council has declared to all Hindostan ' the law of 
retaliation, in these and similar instances, repugnant to the 
principles of public justice.* In the year 1795 was adopted 
' A Regulation for preventing Bramnuns, in the Province 
of Benares, establishmg koorhs^ wounding or kiHing ihek 
female relations or diiTdren, or sitting 2>Atfrna,*f and for 

* The Mahomedan law considen the. act as a private injuiy; not a 
public wrong. 

f Hamilton, in his Description of Hindostan, thus describes the prao- 
tice of Dbuma, <' In 1807 a £{«jghur Bxahmun near Amran (in Guxerat)^ 
to deter his superior Kirjee kowas from depriving him of some land, 
led his mother to the gate of Amran and there cut off her head, which 
bad the desired eiiect. Instances of this sort are frequent in Gusemt, 
and, on most occasions, the victim not only consenti| CNit glories in tiis 

863 liuim's Cries to 

preventiiig Uie tribe of ^RqkoalIlars, in that'Pktmnee, kill* 
ing tiieir female children." Let Britain pmrsne the work of 
^neliorating the state of society in India, imtil every custom 
opposed to the praiciples of hamanity and justice shall be 
abolished. In what is here stated much has been done for 
•the real welfare of India. '' O si sic omnia !" 

The influence of the British magistrate, in India, in 
suppressing Hindoo cruelties, is yeir strikingly displayed 
in the aboUtion of self-murder at Allahabad.'* The Asiatic 
Journal for August, 1827, contains the following statement:-^ 
" A horrid form of self*murder has. happily be^i put down 
by a Regulation of the Government, and the wise and firm 
application of it by the present truly worthy judge and 
magistrate of Allahabad, Mr. Golvin, who said, he had not 
suffered any one to drown himself at the junction of the 
Ganges and Jumna. He has declared thsit, if any one aids 
another, either with a boat, or assists in tying on the earthen 
pots, or helps the individual to throw himseU* into the river^ 
the person or persons so acting shall be regarded as accessary 
to the murder and dealt with accordingly. An instance of this 
self-drowning, Mr. G. said« had not oocuzred since he had 
had the government of Allahabad; nor will he suffer these 
or any other cruelties, which he has power to prevent. We 
rejoice to state that this is the J udgment of all such judges and 
magistrates with whom we have had intercourse, in the dif- 
ferent Districts ; this, in connexion with the fiict that the 
shackles of caste, and Brahminical domination, are much 
and obviously weakening, is a subject of sincere congratu- 
lation to the friends of humanity and piety.'* 

The same respectable Periodical, referring to the cruelties 

" ■ " I ■■ ■ ■ ■ 11 ■ 1 .1 ■ . ■ , ■ i i..i I I I. ,.1-1 1 ..I.,. 

death inflicted. The person who is in many cases the innocent cause of 
the catastrophe is considered by the Brahminical code as damned for 
ever, while the wretch who for his own profit perpetrates the murder, is 
not only held innocent by his fellow citizens, but suffers no pang either 
of heart or conscience.^' Vol. i. p. 651. Qn the abolition of TVaga, 
see vol. i. pp. 611,691, 717, Evan. Mag. May, 1816, pp. 518. Of Hindoo 
ordeals disused by the British Government see Waras View, vol. iii. 
pp. 54—58. 

* The nature of this rite is thus described : — ** Two Mahratta women 
had travelled to Allahabad from a great distance, to devote, themselves to 
the Ganges. In vain did the misj»onary attempt to convince them of 
the delusion and vnckedness of their purpose. After worshipping the 
river, these women entered a boat, with three others of the same caste ; 
they most unfeelingly tied two earthen jars, filled with water, round the 
waist of each to make them sink, and saw them perish in the stream V* 
<Mfes. Papers,- 18iW). 

British Humaniiy. 353 

and inddcencies of the Churok Pooja, or Swinging Festival 
(rites acknowledged by the Brahmuns as not enjoined in 
their Shastra, and confined to the lowest castes), states that 
the magistrates in Calcutta are purposing to curtail and 
prohibit such infractions of the rights of civilized society, and 
that in actual accordance with die sentiments of the more 
intelligent Hindoos. i 

A friend in Calcutta in March, 1823, thus describes these 
barbarous customs: — "The places of the body which are 
pierced are, the back, the arms (generally above the elbow), 
the sidesy and the tongue^ But the piercing is the least 
part of what is endured by the sufferers. The tongue being 
pierced, an iron rod is thrust through it, sometimes carried 
by the individual himself, and sometimes by one of the 
group of his attendants. One of these sufferers had the 
point of a bayonet fixed upon a musket through his tongue 
aud carried before him by the sepoy to whom it belonged, 
and thus he paraded the streets. Another had a live 
snake of five or* six feet in length, the tail of which was 
thrust through his tongue, the head and part of the body 
remaining twirling in frightful shapes above his head. A 
singular instance of audacity was seen this year : among 
the numerous groups there was a man having the iron 
through his tongue with the upper part fastened to the leg 
of a woman of ill fame, who was carried upon the shoulders 
of bearers in a chair precisely even with the man's head, 
and he dancing and frolicking below ! Some are so de- 
termined to excel, that, in order to insert a very thick rod, 
the tongue has been so far pierced as to leave merely a 
shred on each side ; and it has happened that one side has 
given way, leaving the part of the tongue hanging on one 
side merely by a piece. The number of persons in Calcutta 
who thus torment themselves cannot, it is supposed, be less 
than a thousand, in all probability it is much greater. 
Europeans are not likely to hear the tenth, or even a bun- 
dreth part of the evil that occurs from these practices. The 
Natives are not sufficiently attached to each other to think 
the maiming or death of their countrymen of importance 
sufficient to induce them even to relate the fact , unless it is 
elicited by some special circumstance, or inquiry should lead 
to the subject.*** 

'' The celebration of the Churuk Pooja at Kalee Ghaut/' 

* See also lleber's Jounial, vol. i. p. 76, 77. 
2 A 

354 Indids Cries io 

says the Asmtic Journal, *' far from falling off becomes 
every year mote revolting ; and the magistrates cf Calcutta 
seem determined to suppress the disgusting exhibitions 
which take place at the ceremony every year^ in the month 
of April, Several persons, whose proceedings were more 
than ordinarily indecent, were taken up by the police and 
brought before] the magistrates/' A Native Paper, named 
Timira Nasak, says, " Such a celebration of this festival 
as was witnessed at Seebpore has never before been known 
there ; many troops of Sunyasees came from different parts 
of the country, who, in the desperate tortures inflicted on 
themselves, seemed to partake of the nature of Seeb. One 
of them,, ascending the swing, called out to the people below 
to whirl him round faster; and about thirty young men 
attaching themselves to the rope ran round with the utmost 
rapidity, in consequence of which, the hooks tearing the 
skin, he fell and would have been killed if he had not been 
caught by the bystanders. Others followed, but were thus 
disappointed in their expectation of distinguishing them- 
selves." The subsequent sensible remarks in a Calcutta 
Paper in April, 1827, are signed *'A Hindoo i^ — "I have 
been informed that, on the 8th Ghoitra, a Native of the 
Western country, on account of some acquired or expected 
benefit, mutilated his tongue with a knife in the presence 
of the goddess of Kalee Ghaut ; his whole body was covered 
with blood, and he himself became insensible. On hearing 
this circumstance I experienced such distress as I am un- 
able to express. How is the folly of the person who cut 
his tongue to be communicated to the goddess ? Such a 
circumstance has not occurred for a long time. Many 
people mutilate their little finger to propitiate the goddess ; 
but this wretched man has defeated his brethren, and ob- 
tained the chief rank among them. How very grievous 
and distressing it is that he has lost the power of conversing 
for life, though be be deserving of punishment ! Howheit^ 
in consequence of the Honou/rable Company^ s possession of 
this cowntry^ similar acts of folly have been almost put an 
end to amofi,g the Natives ; and^ by analogy^ it may be 
hoped, these diaJbolical transactions toill be completely 
abolislied in a short period,^^^ 

The following judicious observations, extracted from a 
Native Paper in Galcatta, prove how very acceptable the 

* See Asi. Jour. vol. xxiv. 1827, pp. 768. 492. 

British Humanity* 355 

suppression of the irregularities and cruelties of the Hindoo 
and Mohometan festivals would prove to many persons: — 
" Daring seven or eight days successively, the Hori men 
make it a constant practice to spoil, with a nasty dye dis- 
charged through a syringe, the clothes, and perhaps injure 
the persons, of passengers, whether respectable or o'therwise ; 
and abuse the latter by dirowing nuisances against them ; 
sand some force a dye impression on the backs of women. 
If any of the sufferers are provoked, they fail upon them, 
drag them, or put strings of dirty shoes round theur necks. 
It is no wonder that the cruel behaviour or ill-treatment of 
the votaries of this festival sometimes occasions bloodshed 
and loss of lives. At the festival of the Mohurratn, in 
which the Mahometans are very apt to maltreat the Hin- 
doos, the police have very judiciously made a rule to place 
sepoys at those parts of the streets which the Mahometans 
often frequent on those holidays, for the purpose of taking 
sticks and other offensive weapons from the people's hands, 
and prevent their picking quarrels. It is therefore hoped 
that the worthy magistrates will think it proper to adopt 
like measures during the continuance of the Hori festival, 
to keep the peace, and to prevent injuries being done to 
the passengers and the people at large. It may also be pro* 
faibited that no person should abuse men and women who 
are strangers to them ; that they should play the Hori at 
home with their friends and dieir relatives, within their com- 
pounds, and not in the public streets to the annoyance of 
strangers. We hope that the authority who has the power 
vested in him will follow the same example."* 

But to turn from India: it is highly gratifying to see the 
subject of the abolition of human sacrifices in Hindostan 
exciting that attention among the members of the Honour- 
able East India Company which its importance demands. 

The following extract is from " The Speech of J. Poynder, 
Esq., at a General Court of Proprietors of East India Stock, 
March, 1827,*' in defence of a Resolution to the following 
effect : ** That this Caurty taking into consideration the 
contintiance qf hwman sacrifices in India^ is of opinion 
that, in the case of all rites or ceremonies involmng the 
destruction oflife, it is the duty of a paternal Government 
to interpose for their prevention ; and therefore recom- 
mends to the Honourable Court of Directors to transmit 

-_- _-— — ■■ ■■■ . ■ . — — -f — 

* Oodunta Martunda, March 13, t«27. 

2 A 2 

366 India's Cries to 

such Instructions to India as that Court may deem most 
expedient for accomplishing this object, conMStently with 
all practicable attention to th^- feelings of the Natives ^ 
This Resolution was carried by a decided majority, only five 
Proprietors (four of whom were Directors) dividing against 
it. ** The object of the motion (said the eloquent Gentleman) 
now before the Court, is, — To throw the ample shield of 
British protection quite as much over every deluded victim 
who may cast away life as a voluntary sacrifice, as over 
those who may be sacrificed by force or fraud. Wherever 
innocuous ceremonies terminate, and blood becomes neces- 
sary to the propitiation of ' them that are no gods,' there 
the motion I have the honour to submit will come into 
action; its broad principle being that, *IN the case op 


is the duty of a paternal Government to interfere for 
their prevention ;' precisely as it is the duty of a parent to 
save a foolish as well as a wise child from death, M'henever 
it is in his power. God, in his Providence, having armed 
the British Government with the power of saving life in 
India ; the point for which I contend is, that the Govern- 
ment has a better right to exercise that power, than the 
victim of superstition has to resist it ; and that it is a greater 
duty in the Government to preserve its own subjects from 
destruction, than to snfier them to perish. I contend that 
the wretched victim of a sanguinary delusion has no more 
right over his own life, on the score of religion, than he has 
a right over the lives of his fellow-creatures, upon no better 
pretext. And that, therefore, the Government which con- 
sents to look on,|while these deeds of darkness are doing, is 
in the eye of God and man, a partakerof the guilt of blood." 
(p. 233, 234.)* In accordance with these sentiments, the 
abolition of Ghaut murders is the paramount duty of Britain. 
** Blood has a voice to reach the skies." May it reach the 
ears of those who have power to save these victims of su- 
perstition^ and induce them to suppress these cruelties. 

* " It may not be generally known that, in consequence of this motion, 
the Court of Directors were desirous of transmitting such resolution to 
India ; but, on submitting their letter of instructions to the late Board of 
Control, that Board determined that this resolution, adopted, as it had 
been, after two days* discussion, should not b6 sent to India ; in conse-^ 
quence of which, the solemn expression of opinion thus recorded at the 
India House has not officially found its way to our Indian empire." 
(Bap. Mag. Dec. 1829^ p. 521.) 

British Humanity. 357 

The language of the Almighty to Caia is worthy the atteo- 
tion of di Legislators : — " And the Lord said unto Cain, 
Where is Abel thy brother ? and he said, I know not : Am 
I my brother*s keeper? And he said, What hast thou done? 
the voice of thy brother's blood crieth unto me from the 
ground." Gen. iv. 9, 10. 

The numerous facts laid before the reader show that the 
practice of exposing the sick by the Ganges isf of that inhu- 
man and murderous nature which demands the attention of 
the Legislature. Its abrogation by a paternal Government 
would greatly promote the happiness of the people, and 
elevate the tone of natural and moral feeling among the 
Hindoos. The engraving (placed at the beginning of this 
book), taken from a Drawing by a Native Artist, shows a few 
of the superstitious practices connected with the Ganges. 
Some persons are bathing in its supposed sacred stream ; 
and others are procuring and carrying away its water for 
holy purposes. But DEATH is the chief subject of the 
Engraving, which displays some of the miserable delusions 
under which the millions of our Hindoo fellow-subjects 
leave the world. The man on the couch has been brought 
down to breathe his last on the borders of the river, while a 
Brahmun is offering him its waters : the women are probably 
the wives of the dying man come to witness this scene — the 
more afflicting to them, as the barbarous superstitions of 
their country may require them to sacrifice their own lives 
on the funeral pile of their husband ; and the very fire 
which shall consume the living parent with the dead, to be 
kindled by their own offspring. On the right hand is a 
Pagoda, before the door of which another miserable man 
has been laid, there to breathe out his soul in the presence 
of his Idol* 

Even the light of nature is opposed to the horrid practice 
of human sacrifices, and hence the abolition of them by certain 
civilized States before the Christian era. The Romans, 
prior to the establishment of Christianity, exerted their in- 
fluence to abolish human sacrifices ; and Britain is indebted 
to them, as the precursors of that civilization consequent , 
upon the propagation of the Gospel in this country. And 
shall not Christian Britain emulate the humane example of 
Pagan Rome? Shall Gelon, the tyrant of Syracuse,t 
nearly 600 years before Christ, stipulate with the Car- 

* Sec Mis. Reg. 1823. f Rollings Ancient History, vol. i. p. 10. 

358 India's CrUs to 

thagiDiaas, as an article of peace, to abolish human sacri-- 
Jices ; and shall not conquering Britain — 

" Whom grateful Afric worships ; and whose name 
Poor crouching Asia dreads/' 

proclaim liberty to the Slave, protection to the murdered 
Widow, comfort to the dying Hindoo, and life to the In- 
fant devoted from its birth to destruction? Reason, consis- 
tency, and the experience of past ages, require this service 
for the common interests of humanity. The blood of Sut- 
tees— of Infanticides — of Ghaut murders — of Pilgrims led by 
British connexion with idolatry to its shrines — cry to Britain ; 
and '' their cries have entered into the ears of the Lord of 
Sabaoth/* Britain, awake ! " Put on judgment as a robe 
and a diadem ;** — '* do justly and love mercy." 

The suppression of these cruelties is demanded of Bri- 
tain.— They outrage "the inviolable obligations of justice 
and humanity."* Locke, in his Letters on Toleration, 
clearly defines the religious observances with which the 
civil magistrates can and cannot interfere.— "The magistrate 
ought not to forbid the preaching or professing of any spe- 
culative opinions in any church, because they have no man- 
ner of relation to the civil rites of the subject ; for it does 
not belong to the magistrate to make use of his sword in 
punishing every thing indifierently which he takes to be a 
sin against God. His post is only to take care that the Com- 
monwealth receive no prejudice, and that there be no injury 
done to any man in life and stat^. You will i^y, * If some 
congregations have a mind to sacrifice infants, or practice 
any other such heinous enormities, is the magistrate obliged 
to tolerate them, because they are committed in a religious 

* Bruja Mohun, a Bengalee, in his ^ Strictures on the present System 
of Hindoo Polytheism," has the following just remarks : — " With the view 
of obtaining Gunga you, at midnight, in the month of January, dip your 
aged and afflicted parents into the river and thereby murder them. The 
weather is then so cold, and the wind so bleak, that were you to sub> 
merge a healthful youth in the river his death would be no matter of sur- 
prise. You drink the water of a peculiar spot and anoint your body 
with dirt and mud brought from particular places, and esteem these acts 
holv — we do not. To burn defenceless women, to murder an aged father 
and mother by immersing them in water, you esteem holy ;— we esteem 
these deeds unholy." (Friend of India, Dec, 1830, pp. 267, 290.) 
Thus correct ideas of the nature of the cruel customs of Hindoism are 
prevailing among the natives. Let not Britain fear to cast her shield 
over the wretched votaries of superstition, and "deliver them who are 
drawn unto death and ready to be slain/' 

British Humanity. 359 

assembly ? No. These things are not lawful in the ordinary 
coarse of life, nor in any private house, and therefore neither 
are they so in the worship of God."* The abolition of hu- 
man sacrifices of every kind would raise the tone of humane 
and intellectual feeling in India, and attach her to Britain, 
*' no longer as a conqueror to whom she is bound by the 
terror of our arms, but as a benefactor indissolubly endeared 
by the triumphs of our mercy." 

What is the state of Hindostan at the present period ?— * 
'' Darkness covers the earth, and gross darkness the peo- 
ple.*' — " The land is full of idols :" and the people are 
** mad upon their idols.'' And " how are their sorrows 
multiplied that hasten after another god!" Idolatry is 
degrading to the human mind, inimical to the happiness of 
society, and incapable of supporting the soul in the pros- 
pects of a future state of existence. Its ceremonies are 
puerile, absurd, cruel, and murderous. Idolatry is cruel as 
the grave.f 

And shall British India lie at the mercy of this merciless 
hydra; to whom thousands are annually sacrificed on its 
sanguinary altars ? Shall no cry of " Murder ! murder !" 
no cry of " Mercy ! mercy !" be heard? Oh yes ! a cry is 
heard — it increases — it is understood — and ere long the in- 
habitants of Britain, aided by other Christian countries, 
will be seen rising to rescue the victims of superstition, and 
direct them to the cross of Christ! Christianity is the only 
adequate remedy for the miseries of India, of the East, and 
of the World. Let the messengers of mercy, bearing 
** Good tidings of great joy to all people," be despatched to 
every part of India, saying, ** Go, ye swift messengers, to a 
nation scattered and peeled, to a people terrible from their 

• Locke's Works, vol. ii. pp. 368 — 370. See also Par. Papers on 
Hindoo ImmolatioBS, July, 1825, vol. iv. p. 21. 
f What is the meaning of such sentiments as the following? 

^' There^s not a land on earth more fair 
Than that whose soil the Gunga laves ; 
There's not a land more blessed than where, 
Through countless leagues, it rolls its waves. 
Land of the beauteous and the brave, 
Land of the Ganges holy wave." 

(Forget-Me-Not, 1829, p. 1 29,— J5«n/cs of the Ganges.) 

360 India s Crus to 

begiDning hitherto ; a nation meted out and trodden down, 
whose land the rivers have spoiled !" Isaiah xviii. 2. Let 
these efforts be accompanied with fervent prayer for the 
effnsion of the Spirit of God, and his ** way shall be known 
upon earth, his saving health among all nations." Thus 
true religion shall bless the plains of Hindostan ; and its 
temples, idols, and cruel rites, be '* buried *midst the wreck 
of things that were." How numerous the blessings which 
follow in the train of .Christianity ! Behold the Hindoo " a 
new creature in Christ Jesus." 

'' On Guilt's dark brow her glittering cross appears, 
His sullied cheek is washed with pious tears; 
And Ganges, hallowM still for holier ends, 
Death stream no more, his wave baptismal lends V** 

To adopt the language of the late C. Grant, Esq., refer- 
ring to the other European nations who have held posses- 
sions in India, — '' It remains for us to show how we shall 
be distinguished from these nationsf in the history of man- 
kind ; whether conquest shall have been in our hands the 
means, not merely of displaying a Government imequalled 
in India for administrative justice, kindness, and modera- 
tion ; not merely of increasing the security of the subject 
and prosperity of the country, but of advancing social hap- 
piness — of meliorating the moral state of men, — and of ex- 
tending a superior light, further than the Roman eagle ever 
flew. In success lies our safety, not our danger. Our 
danger must lie in pursuing, from ungenerous ends, a course 
contracted and illiberal ; but in following an opposite course^ 
— in communicating light, knowledge, and improvement, 
we shall obey the dictates of duty, of philanthropy, and of 
policy. We shall take the most rational means to remove, 
inherent, great disorders — to attach the Hindoo people to 
ourselves — to ensure the safety of our possessions — to en- 
hance, continually, their value to us — to raise a firm and 
durable monument to the glory of this country — and to in- 
crease the happiness of the human race. ''J 

O Britain ! my country ! hear the glowing language of 

* Wrangham*3 Poem on the Restoration of Learning in the East, 

t Portuguese, French, and Dutch, in India. 

+ " Observ. on the State of Society among the Asiatic subjects of 
Great Britain." Par. Papers, June, 1813. 

British Humanity. ' 361 

your poets ; and promote the work of the melioration and 
evangelization of India. 

^< Pursue thy glorious course. Be this thy art. 
Not to corrupt, but meliorate the heart ; 
Where'er mankind in Gentile darkness lie, 
Instruction's blessed radiance to supply ; 
O'er the oppress'd, soft mercy's dews to shed, , 
And crush with ruin the oppressor's head. 

O haste your tardy coming days of sold ; 
Long by prophetic minstielsy foretold 1 
Where yon bright purple streaks the orient skies, 
Rise Science, Freedom, Peace, Religion, rise ! 
Till, from Tanjore to farthest Samarcand, 
In one wide lustre bask the glowing land : 
And (Brahma from his guilty greatness hurl'd 
With Mecca's lord) Messiah rule the world !" 

** TheU) while transported Asia kneels around, 
With ancient arts and long lost glories crown'd : 
Some happier bard, on Ganges' margin laid, 
Where playful bamboos weave their fretted shade, 
Shall to the strings a loftier tone impart. 
And pour in rapturous verse his flowing heart. 
Stamp'd in immortal light on future days, 
Through all the strain his country's joys shall blaze ; 
The Sanscrit song be warm'd with heav'nly fires, 
And themes divine awake from Indian lyres !"♦ 

* See Wrangham and Grant on the Restoration of Learning in the East, 





Introductory Remarks — Origin^ Nature^ and Evils of 
Slavery in India. 

A late highly respected writer on India states, respecting 
slavery in the East, " Though no slavery legally exists in 
the British territories at this moment^ yet the terms and 
gestures used by servants to their superiors all imply that 
sach a distinctioq was at no distant date very common. 
• I am thy slave/ ' Thy slave hath no knowledge/ are 
continually used as expressions of submission and of igno- 
rance.'' From this extract, and others of a similar kind 
which might be made, it is evident that the nature and 
extent of slavery in India are but imperfectly understood. 
A very voluminous collection of Papers on this subject, con- 
taining nearly 1000 folio pages, were '^ ordered by the Hon. 
House of Commons to be printed, March 12th, 1828/' 
and it is important that their contents should be generally 
known. Of these papers it has been said, ^' An attempt 
to digest such a mass of documents into a narrative, or to 
reduce them into any symmetrical shape, is hopeless /' the 
author has not been thus discouraged in his investigation of 
them ; but, being convinced that slavery iu India is a sub- 
ject of considerable interest, he has devoted much time to 
the perusal of these Papers, and hopes his labours may be 
beneficial to the interests of humanity in India. While so 

364 India's Cries to 

many works are published on West India Slavery, the 
author is acquainted with but one on Slavery in India,* 
and this a small pamphlet recently published. Whatever 
brings the real state of India before the British public 
must be productive of good; and, under this conviction, the 
author submits his feeble labour to the candid attention of 
his readers. 

J. Richardson, Esq., judge and magistrate of Zillah Bnn- 
dlecund, in his very valuable communication to the British 
Government in India, on the subject of slavery, in March, 
1808, very justly remarks — ** The humane abolition of the 
slave trade in England has added lustre to the enlightened 
wisdom of the British senate, and enrolled, to the latest 
posterity, the name of Wilberforce amongst the benefactors 
of mankind. That slavery should ever have been authorised, 
in any civilised community, is as astonishing to the mind, as 
disgraceful to human nature. '1 he great Author of Creation 
made all men equally free. By what act then can that free- 
dom be forfeited or given up? surely liberty can be forfeited 
by no act that does not militate against the general security 
and well-being of society, from which mankind acquire 
their happiness and protection. Nor has man more right to 
sell or give up the natural freedom of his person than he 
has to lay down his|natural life at pleasure ; much less can 
he have any title to dispose of the liberty of another, even 
6f his child. That every human being should contribute by 
his labour, whether mental or corporesd, to supply the wants 
of his brethren in society, on principles of reciprocity and 
mutual advantage, is as natural as requisite ; but that God 
should authorise the assumption of prdperty and the abso- 
lute control of one human being over another, nothing in- 
ferior in form or organization, is surely an impious suppo- 
sition, arraigning the justice of Omnipotence, and directly 
contrary to every benign attribute of the Deity, as delineated 
by reason and religion, and impressed upon our minds by 
the laws of nature and the use of our rational faculties. 

'* That slavery is an infringement of the law of nature 
cannot be disputed. The most respectable authority proves 
that, therefore, it is in its own nature and essence in- 
valid. Blackstone, speaking of the law of nature, says, 

• this law of nature, coeval with mankind, and dictated by 

* East India Slavery by Saintsbury, 1829. See also East and West 

India Sugar, 1823. Hatchard. 

British Humanity. 965 

God himself, is of course superior ^i obligation to any other. 
It is binding all over the globe, in all countries, and at all 
times ; no human laws are of any validity if contranr to this ; 
and such of them as are valid derive all their force and 
all their authority mediately or immediately from this original/ 
The most is^trenuous defenders of this horrid imposition of 
the powerful on the weaker part of mankind pretend not to 
maintain its propriety but on ideas of political utility. Im- 
partial and minute inquiry into its effects would at once 
remove this specious veil, by which the diabolical principle 
is sometimes hidden; and the system, decorated in the eye 
of sensible and virtuous men under mistaken notions of 
human expedience, proves the uniform tendency of slavery 
to be depressive of every emanation of the mind, and highly 
destructive to our species."* 

JTie origin of slavery m India^ as it exists among the 
Hindoos at the present period, is involved in considerable 
obscurity. Its rise among the Mahomedans is evidently to 
be traced to the triumph of their arms. The following 
extract from the Papers on Slavery in India affords some 
information upon a subject painfully interesting to every 
human mind. 

The Parliamentary Papers on Slavery in India com- 
mence with the following singular method of punishing 
deceits or robbers, and show one source of slavery in the 
East: — " That whereas the peace of this country hath for 
some years past been greatly disturbed by bands of Deceits, 
who not only infest the high roads, but often plunder whole 
villages, burning the houses and murdering the inhabitants : 
And whereas these abandoned outlaws have hitherto found 
means to elude every attempt which the vigilance of go- 
vernment hath put in force, for detecting and bringing such 
atrocious criminals to justice, by the secrecy of their haunts, 
and the wild state of the districts which are most subject 
to their incursions, it becomes the indispensable duty of 
government to try the most rigorous means, since expe- 
rience has proved every lenient and ordinary remedy to be 
ineffectual : that it be therefore resolved. That every such- 
criminal, on conviction, shall be carried to the village to 
which he belongs, and be there executed for a terror and 
example to others ; and, for the further prevention of such 
abominable practices, that the village of which he is an in- 

♦ Par. Papers on Slavery in India, 1828, p. 299. 

366 India's Cries to 

habitant shall be fined according to the enormity of the 
crime, and each inhabitant according to hid substance ; and 
that the family of the criminal shall become the slaves of 
the state, and be disposed of for the general benefit and 
convenience of the people, according to the discretion of 
the government**^ 

On this subject it is stated : — **The deceits of Bengal are 
not like the robbers in England — individuals driven to such 
desperate courses by sudden want; they are robbers by 
profession, and even by birth ; they are formed into regular 
communities, and their families subsist by the spoils which 
they bring home to them ; they are all therefore alike cri- 
minal ; wretches .who have placed themselves in a state of 
declared war with government, and are therefore wholly 
excluded from every benefit of its laws. We have many 
instances of their meeting death with the greatest insensi- 
bility; it loses, therefore, its effect as an example; but 
when executed in all the forms and terrors of law, in the 
midst of the neighbours and relations of the criminal, when 
these are treated as accessaries to his guilt, and his family 
deprived of their liberty, and separated for ever from 
each other — every passion, 'which before served as an incen- 
tive to guilt, now becomes subservient to the purposes of 
society, by turning them firom a vocation in which all they 
hold dear, besides life, becomes forfeited by their conviction ; 
at the same time, their families, instead of being lost to the 
community, are made useful members of it, by being 
adopted into those of the more civilized inhabitants. The 
ideas of slavery, borrowed from our American colonies, 
will meke every modification of it appear, in the eyes of 
our own countrymen in England, a horrible evil ; but it is 
far othemvise in this country ; here slaves are treated as the 
children of the families to which they belong, and often 
acquire a much happier state by their slavery than they 
could have hoped for by the enjoyment of liberty ; so that, 
in effect, the apparent rigour thus exercised on tne children 
of convicted robbers will be no more than a change of con- 
dition^ by which they will be no sufferers, though it will 
operate as a warning on others, and is the only means 
which we can imagine capable of dissipating these des- 

♦ Par. Papers on Slavery in India, p. 2, Plan for the administration of 
justice, Aug. 1772. 

British Humamiy. 967 

perate and abattdoned societies, wfaicb srixftsl on the dis* 
tress of the general community.*'* 

^* If we may judge (says the Editor of the Asiatic Jonr* 
nal, in a review of the contents of the Papers on Slavery 
in India) from a subsequent minute mid regulation of the 
Bengal Government (1774), this proposal was not listened 
to ; for therein, not only is the ste^ng of children or selKng 
any Hindoo as a slave (without a regular deed) forbidden, 
but it is proposed to abolish slavery cdtogether, s^er the first 
generation then living, owing to * the great increase of late 
years of tMs savage commerce, and in order to prevent 
hasty strides towsffds depopulation/ Further inquiry how- 
ever seems to have convinced the Bengal Government that 
there were districts where slavery was in general usage, and* 
the abolition of which might impede cultivation. The 
Government observes tlmt the opinions of the most credi* 
table Mussulman and Hindoo inhabitants condemn the usage 
of selling slaves as repugnant to the particular precepts both 
of the Koran and the Shaster.^t 

The Provincial Council of Patna, in Aug. 1774, address 
the Governor, Warren Hastings, Esq., on this subject as 
follows : — " We find that there are two kinds of slaves in 
this province, Mussulman and Hindoo ; the former are pro- 
perly called Mualazadeh, and the latter Kahaar. Slaves of 
either denomination are considered in the same light as 
any other property, and are transferrable by the owner, or 
descend at his demise to his heirs. They date the rise of 
the custom of Kahaar slavery from the first incursions of 
the Mahomedans, when the captives were distributed by 
the general among the officers of his army, to whose pos 
terity they remained. All other slaves haTe become so by 
occasional purchase, as in cases of famine, &c. The Ka- 
boleh must be signed by the mother or grandmother, and 
not by the father. Children also born of slaves are the 
property of the owner of the woman, though married to a 
slave of a different family •''+ 

The Collector at Trichinopoly, in the Madras Presidency, 
in reply to the inquiries of the Government addressed to a 
number of Collectors on the subject of Slavery in their re- 
spective districts, describes the origin of pullers or agricul- 
tural slavery as follows: — •* It is, I apprehend, indisputable, 

* Par. Papers on Slavery in India, p. 1, 2. f Asi. Jour. Nov. 1828, 
p. 559. I Par. Papers on Slavery in India, p. 5. 



gnd domesti^^^^ ^0^ 

extent. The ?f c« 

upheld by law ; 

dttge, and the xx^ 

skTes, differed esaeilL -ttti« *?|^ in abnost evefj to^^' ^° 

distinot informatioii canVd \^^^ Stained at iibat penoi ajiw^- 

TIk'^Tu^ ''?Tt''''^7^*^^ Uisnowuapo«b\et^tme 
whether thts establishment toSi^t \ 1 • ^ ^ j^ ^jie ^(Aratoij 
sabmiftsion of the indigent to tSeSij^R, ^^- ^^^ wbeAvn 4fc 
pullers were originally captives takeff^fcrr th? •« ^'^^ Jut, m^ 
species of bondage is generally the p^jefore oncomitBtt^^^" 
barous governments, it must of necessity Ih. jq ^ sLavebeen^^^^ 
ancient institution of the Hindoos. Under^fof^ vhtheii ubitrar; 
government, the distinctions of caste were ^(lave niatscT^^^^' 
maintained; and, adverting to the circumstance OKinsensi-ftheiaee* 
rassidars in Trichinopoly being Brahmuns, it scarcely^, bui; •> exdtes 
surprize that agricultural slavery should exist I^^the 
changed and undiminished."^ 

The lieutenant-Govemor of the island of Java, in 
1812, gives the following information, respecting the orii 
of slavery in the Eastern Isles : — " Macassar and its nei 
bourhood may be considered as a principal source 
which slaves have been exported; and without, in 
place, entering into any discussion of the origin and causes 
of this state of society, which, in a general point of view, 
must be referred to backwardness of civilization and preva- 
lence of native authority, it must be observed that, in con- 
sequence of its being the favourite source of revenue among* 
those chieftains, it will require much delicacy and caution 
in attempting any measures to restrain where argument 
could be of no avail, and force would be inconvenient. 

** In my instructions to Captain Phillips, on his proceeding* 
to Macassar, I directed his attention in a particular manner 
to this interesting subject ; but I regret to find from his 
report that at present there is little prospect of his favour- 
able interference. In short, he seems decidedly of opinion 
that, ** as men-stealers are very common over the country, 
if he prohibited their selling their stolen property at Macas- 
sar, they would still carry on the trade in the Boui terri- 
tory ;" where, though so immediately under the eye of the 
Resident, the Rajah would no doubt maintain his right 


* Par. Papers, p. 892. 

British Humanity. 369 

equaHy with that which he exercises at pleasure of life and 

*' The native laws, usages, and habitus, regarding slavery, are 
in many instances so various and contradictory, and it is so 
difficult to trace them to any authentic source, that is uni- 
versally admitted and acknowledged, that I am tearful but 
very little light will be obtained from them. Prisoners bf 
war are in many cases considered as the property of the 
conqueror, and consequently sold as slaves. The families 
of criminals who may be executed for particular crimes 
become likewise a droit of the chief; and in many cases 
criminals are pardoned on condition of being sold into sla- 
very. Throughout the whole of the Eastern Islands, debt- 
ors become responsible in their services to their creditors, 
and it does not appear that there is any generally acknow- 
ledged law among them to prevent the chief of a family 
selhng his wife and children into slavery. The desperate 
'^ manner in which the Bugguese prows are known to defend 

1 themselvei^ at sea, is accounted for by the numerous crew, 

t who are all separate adventurers on a borrowed capital, 

I having left their families hypothecated for the debt, who be- 

ll come slaves to the creditor in the event of the debtor part- 

4 ing with the property under any circumstances without his 

' ** The Dutch law being blended with the Roman, and the 

colonial law founded on both, slavery has been fully recog- 
nised as legal by the European government, while the uni- 
versal prevalence of Mahometanism renders it legal with 
every native administration, and as such it appears, without 
any occasional difference of opinion, to have been always 

*' Slavery, however, on the island of Java, is to be consi- 
dered as exclusively confined to domestic purposes, and 
may be viewed rather as a regulated domestic servitude 
than that detestable system which the legislature of Great 
Britain have, to the credit of humanity, so vigorously sup- 
pressed in the West Indies. Sla/very^ however^ under 
any shctpe, or if it beao's only the name^ is so repugnant to 
every principle of enlightened administration^ and so in- 
consistent unth your Lorship^srf benevolent plans, that I 
fear I should not stand excused in my defence of such a 

• Par. Papers on Slavery in India,, pp. 154, 155. 
t Lord Minto. 


370 India's Cries to 

system under any modifications or circumstanass what' 

Tbe rise of slavery in the newly acqaired island of Pe- 
nang, or Prince of Wales Island, is described as follows, 
in a letter from the judge and magistrate in Jan. 1802, to 
the Marquis of Wellesley, then Governor General of 
India. — ** My Lord Marqtiis : — In a case which lately came 
judicially before me, a question arose, * Whether civil 
slavery, that is, a right in one man over the person and 
fortune of another, were to be considered as established at 
Prince of Wales Island.' I was not ignorant that slavery, 
limited and unlimited, had been here tolerated. I know 
that emigrants, both from the Malay Peninsula and from 
the Eastern Islands, who had become inhabitants of Prince 
of Wales Island, have been permitted to retain in slavery 
those whom they had brought as slaves to this place. 
Some of these, indeed, are in utter slavery, while others 
are only in limited servitude. The latter is the condition 
of those who are styled slave debtors, and these are people 
that voluntarily become slaves to their creditors till their 
debts are paid. But all this passed, sub silentio; for, after 
careful search, I have not found any regulation of the local 
government, or any order from the Governor General in 
council, authorising the establishment of slavery, limited or 
unlimited, at Prince of Wales Island. This right, if any 
such in fact exists, rests therefore simply on a usage of 
fourteen years. Thus circumstanced, having no authority 
to guide my judgment, my delicacy increased in proportion 
to the interests on which I was called to determine ; and, 
in this case, subordiuate to the question of civil slavery, 
arose two other questions. The first a question of fact, 
' Whether the father of A. ever had been a slave at Quid- 
dah?' The second a question of taw, ' What was to be 
the condition of A. now resident at Prince of Wales 
Island, whether born of one parent, who was free, and of 
another, who was enkved, or born of parents who were 
both slaves, and now resident at Prince of Wales Island. 

** I was desirous of avoiding the determination of this 
case, and remitted it to the Lieutenant Governor ; but, in 
deference to his particular request, I gave my opinion that 

* For an account of the Slave Trade at the Island of Nias, near Su- 
matra, see an interesting article from the Singapore Clironicle, in the 
Imp, Mag. Jan. 1830, p. 48—54. 

British Hunuinity. 371 

the evidence did not prove that the father ever had been a 
slave, but that it inclined to show that the mother had been 
a slave at Quiddah, and I thought the son should follow the 
condition of his father. I was led to this opinion from a 
consideration that it is the old law of villanage in England, 
and, although I know it was contrary to the maxim of the 
civilians, partes sequiter ventrem, yet the latter authority 
had no weight with me ; first, because slavery had not yet 
been established by authority at Priuce of Wales Island ; 
next, because I could not see any local circumstance requir 
ing its establishment; and, lastly, because a state of slavery 
is, in its own nature^ bad, neither useful to the master nor 
to the slave, nor to the state under which they live. The 
laeutenant Governor, on the contrary^ was of opinion that 
the evidence proved both parents of A. were slaves, and« 
under the regulations for the administration of justice on 
this island, ultimately decreed, that A., resident in this 
island, should be delivered up as a slave to Hakim Sullee, 
Captain Malay, resident also on this island. 

** By this decree slavery is now recognised and established 
by the local government of this island, and therefore, in 
addition to the observations which heretofore I have had 
the honour of submitting to the consideration of your 
Excellency in eounoil, I feel the necessity of representing 
that regulations are now requisite, in which the right that a 
master is to possess over the person and fortune of his 
slave, at Prince of Wales Island, should be explicitly 
defined ; and I hope that your Excellency in council will 
take into consideration the case of the offspring of slaves, 
and particularly of those who are bom of one parent who is 
free, while the other is a slave. Nothing can be presumed 
on the moderation or justice of Mahomedans who possess 
slaves. By their usages the virtue or honour of female 
slaves is at the mercy of their master. I could hope that 
the right of the master was by law expressly limited to the 
bounds of humanity. I have no other apology to offer 
than my conviction that the subject matter of my letter is of 
the first importance to the interests and prosperity of this 
rising colony.*'* 

Cf the nature of Slavery in India some idea may be 
formed from the following extracts. The Governor General, 
in March, 1775, transmitted to the Honourable Court of 

* Par, Papers on Slavery in India, pp. 429, 430. 

2b 2 

372 India's Cries io 

Directors extracts from a translation of the Hindoo Law» 
by N. B. Halhed, Esq. From this code it appears that 
slaves are divided into fifteen classes, viz.-— 

*• 1, Whoerer is bom of a female slave, and is called Gerhej^ 

2. Whoever is purchased for a price, and is called Keereeut. ' 

3. Wh6ever is tound any where by chance, and is called Lubdehee. 

4. Whoever is a slave by descent from his ancestms, and is called 

5. Whoever hath been fed, and hath had his life preserved by another 
during a famine, and is called Enkkfll Behnit. 

6. Whoever hath been delivered up as a pledge for money borrowed, 
and is called Abut. 

7. Whoever, to free himself from the debt of one creditor, hath bor- 
rowed money from another person, and, having discharged the old debt^ 
gives himself up as a servant to the person with whom the present debt 
is contracted ; or whoever, by way of terminating the importunities of a 
creditor, delivers himself up for a servant to that creditor, and is called 

8. Whoever hath been enslaved by the fortune of battle, and is called 
Joodih Peeraput. 

9. Whoever becomes a slave by a loss on the chances of dice, or other 
games, and is called Punjeet; according to the ordinations of Perkashkar 
and Pareejaut, and according to the ordination of Chendeesur, it is thus 
that by whatever chance he is conquered, and becomes a slave, he 
is called Punjeet — approved. 

10. Whoever of his own desire says to another, *' I am become your 
slave,'* and is called Opookut. 

11. When a Chebteree, or Bice, having become Sinassee, apostates 
from that way of life, the magistrate shall make him a slave, and is called 

12. Whoever voluntarily gives himself as a slave to another for a sti- 
pulated time, and is called Gheerut. 

13. Whoever performs servitude for his subsistence, and is called 

14. Whoever, from the desire of possessing a slave girl, becomes a 
slave, and is called Berbakrot. 

15. Whoever of his own accord sells his liberty, and becomes a slave, 
and is called Bekreet.'** 

In the trial of the commander of a Danish trading-vessel 
for procuring native children, and exporting them as slaves, 
in Aug. 1789, Sir R. Chambers stated — ** The only cases 
in which slavery was lawful under the Mahomedan Govern- 
ment. Infidels, taken prisoners in war, fighting against 
Mussulmans, were considered as the slaves of the captors, 
and the slavery extended to their children. In cases of 
famine, publicly declared, it was lawful for farmers to sell 
their children, and persons of more than fifteen years of 

♦ Par. Papers on Slavery in India, p. 7. 

British Humanity. 373 

age might sell themselves to obtain a subsistence. Bat 
that in these four cases, the only existing ones under 
the Mahomedan government, the condition of slavery was 
put under many legal restrictions, and that it was unlawful 
for a Mussulman to sell his slave. That the exportation of 
subjects of a Mussulman government to be sold to a state 
of slavery was unknown ; and, he believed, that it was the 
first time such an offence had been committed under the 
British flag, and he trusted it would be the last. He wished 
it to be understood that, if a similar offence should ever 
unhappily be again tried before the court, the punishment 
would be more severe.*'* 

The nature of slavery, both Hindoo and Mussulman, will 
appear by the following extract from the valuable communica- 
tions to the Bengal Government by the magistrate of Bundle- 
cund. This gentleman observes — " Previously to my 
submission of the draught of the Regulation directed to 
be submitted to the court of Nizamut Adawlut, I deem 
it of essential importance to the elucidation of the subject 
to offer a few remarks on the laws of slavery as they now 
exist in that part of Hindostan which it, has pleased God 
to dlot to the control and government of the British nation. 
For the sake of perspicuity, and to bring the subject at once 
under view, I snail transcribe the questions put to the Maho- 
medan and Hindoo law officers officially (for the purpose of 
procuring a declaration of law on the subject of slavery, ac- 
cording to their respective codes), insert their answers, and 
offer such remarks as present themselves to my judgment, 
or as seem applicable to the subject. 
Questions put to the Muftee by the Nizamut Adawlut. 

Questions and answers by the law officers. 
First Question. — ** What description of slaves are autho- 
rized by the Mohomedan law V^ 

Answer. — *' All men are by nature free and independent, 
and no man can be a subject of property, except an infidel 
inhabiting a country not under the power and control of 
the faithful. This right of possession which the Moslems 
have over Hurbus (infidels fighting against the faith) is ac- 
quired by Isteela, which means the entire subduement 
of any subject of property by force of arms. The original 
right of property, therefore, which one man may possess 
over another, is to be acquired solely by Isteela, and cannot 

* Par. Papers on Slavery in India, p. 21. 

374 India's Cries to 

be obtained in the first instance bj purchase, donation, or 
heritage ; when, therefore, an Imaam subdaes, by force o( 
arms, any one of the cities inhabited by infidels, such 
of them as may be taliLen prisoners become his rightful pro- 
perty, and he has the power of putting them to death or 
making them slaves, and distributing them as such among 
the Ghazees (victorious soldiers), particularly when fighting 
against infidels ; or he may set them at liberty in a Mussul- 
man country, and levy the capitation tax ; should he make 
them slaves, they become legal subjects of property, and 
are transferrable by sale, gift, or inheritance ; but if, after 
captivity, they should become converts to the faith (Islam), 
the power of death over them is thereby barred, though 
they would continue slaves ; for, slavery being the necessary 
consequence of original infidelity, the subsequent conver- 
sion to Islam does not affect the prior state of bondage to 
which the individual has been regularly rendered liable by 
Isteela, provided this be clearly established. From this it 
is evident that the same rules are applicable to slaves of 
both sexes. If slaves are afterwards sold, or given away, 
by the Imaum, or by the Ghazees, who shared at the distri- 
bution, or if they should become the property of another by 
inheritance, they then become slaves under the three 
different classes of purchase, donation, and inheritance. 

'* If a female should bear offspring by any other than 
by her legal lord and master, whether the father be a free- 
man or a slave, and whether the slave of the said master, or 
of any other person, in any one of these cases, such 
offspring is subject to slavery, and these are called Khana- 
zad (born in the family); bat, if the children be the acknow- 
ledged offspring of the right owner, they are then free, and 
the mother of them (being the parent of a child by her 
master) becomes, at his decease, free aho ; and this rule is 
applicable to all their descendants to the latest posterity. 

" The practice among free men and women of selling 
their own offspring, during the time of famine, is ex- 
tremely improper and unjustifiable, being in direct oppo- 
sition to the principle above stated, viz. that no man can 
be a subject of property, except an infidel taken in the <ict 
of hostilities against the faith. In no case then can a 
person, legally free, become a subject of property; and, 
children not being the property of their parents, all sales 
or purchases of them, as any other articles of illegal pro* 
perty, are consequently invalid. It is also illegal for any 

British Humanity. 375 

free man to sell his own person, either in time of &mioe or 
though he be oppressed by a debt which he is nnable to 
discharge. For in the first of these cases a famished man 
may feed upon a dead body ! or may rob another ; and a 
distressed debtor is not liable to any fine or punishment. 

*' We are not acquainted with the principal or detailed cir- 
cumstances which led to the custom prevailing in most Mus- 
sulman countries of purchasing and selling the inhabitants 
of Zanguibar, Ethiopia, Nubia, and other Negroes : but the 
ostensible causes are, either that the Negroes sell their 
owq ofispring, or that Mussulman or other tribes of people 
take them prisoners by fraud and deceit, or seize them by 
stealth from the sea shores. In such cases, however, they 
are not legally slaves^ and the sale and purchase of them 
are consequently invalid. But if a Mussulman army, by 
order of an Imaum, should invade their country, and make 
thein prisoners of war by force of arms, they are then legal 
slaves, provided that such Negroes are inhabitants of a 
country under the government of Infidels, and in which a 
Mussulman is not entitled to receive the full benefit and 
protection of his own laws. With regard to the custom, 
prevailing in this country, of hiring children from their pa- 
rents, for a very considerable period, such as for seventy or 
eighty years, and under this pretext making them slaves, as 
well as their produce also, under the denomination of Kba- 
razad (domestic slaves), the following laws are applicable ; 
viz. It is lawful and proper for parents to hire out their 
children on service, but this contract of hire becomes null 
and void when the child arrives at the years of discretion^ 
as the right of parentage tJien ceases ; a free man, who has 
reached the years of discretion, may, however, enter into a 
contract to serve another, but not for any great length of 
time, such as for seventy years ; as this also is a mere pre- 
text, and has the same object of slavery ia view, whereas 
the said free man has the option of dissolving any contract 
of hire under either of the following circumstances : — It is 
the custom, in contracts of this nature, for a person hired on 
service to receive a compensation in money, clothes, and 
food, as the price of hire ; any day therefore that a servant 
receives such a compensation he is in duty bound to serve 
for that day, but not otherwise. The condition of contract 
of hire requires that the return of profit be equal to the 
price of hire,'and this cannot be ascertained but by degrees, 
and in course. of time. The contract of hire, therefore, be- 

376 India s Crus to 

comes complete, or fulfilled accordiog to the services or be- 
nefit actually rendered in return for the price of hire re- 
ceived» and the person hired has consequently the option of 
dissolving the contract at any moment of the period origin* 
ally agreed for. 

** It is however unavoidable and actually necessary in con- 
tracts of a different nature, such as in rent of land, &c., 
that the lessee should not have this power ; but reverting to 
contracts of hire for service for a long period, the nrfarious 
practices of subjecting free men to a state of bondage and 
slavery, under this pretence, it appears expedient to provide 
against such abuses, and with this view to restrict the period 
for service in all contracts of hired freemen to a month, one 
year, or the utmost to three years, as in cases of Ijanawugfa, 
a form of endowment. It is customary also amon^ the 
Zanane Towaf (women who keep sets of dancing girls), to 
purchase female free children from their parents, or by en- 
gagements directly with the children themselves; exclu- 
sively of the illegality of such purchases, there is a further 
evil resulting from this practice, which is, that the children 
are taught dancing and singing for others, and are also made 
prostitutes, both of which are extremely improper and ex- 
pressly forbidden by the law/' 

Remarks. — <* From the reply it is'evident that, by the Mussulman law, 
no man can have the right of property over another human being except 
a Mussulman, and even he can acquire that right over an infidel only, 
inhabiting a country not under the power and control of the faithful ; 
and that this right which Mussulmans have over infidels fighting against 
the faith is acquirable by Isteela, which means the entire subduement of 
any subject of property by force of arms ; the right of properly, there- 
fore, which one man may possess over another, is to be acquired, in the 
first instance, by *' Isteela, and cannot be obtained originally by purchase, 
donation, or heritage, &c. It follows that all persons in a state of bon- 
dage, over whom the right of property has not been obtained by Isteela, 
or the offspring of parents over whom the above right was not acquired, 
are, by the Mussulman law, free; and that it is the duty of the Hakim, or 
persons claiming their freedom, over whom the right of property derived 
firom Isteela cannot be legally established or traced, to declare such per- 
sons of either sex free by a legal recorded decision, which shall secure to 
them the future enjoyment of that freedom. 

« It also appears, by this answer, that although legal bondage be estab- 
lished, the circumstance of subsequent conversion to the faith is a bar to 
the power of death, which the proprietor originally possessed over all 
slaves over whom the right of property was in fact obtained by Isteela ; 
but that the above conversion does not affect the prior state of bondage, 
&c., &c. The same rule iy applicable to slaves of both sexes. 

" Slaves^sold or given away by the Imaum, or the Ghazee (conquerors 
or victorious troops) who shared at the distribution, or if afterwards they 

British Humanity. 377 

become the property of another by inheritance, they continue slares 
under the different rights of purchase, donation, and heirship. It appears 
by the Mussulman law that the offspring of a female slave, whether by a 
freeman or a slave of any description, except by her master, such 
oflsprings are slaves, and are called Khanazad (born in the family). If, 
however, the offspring shall be acknowledged by the master, they shall 
be free, and the mother also, at the death of her owner, becomes free ; 
and this alto emaruipatei their defendants to the latest vosterify. It 
may be inferred from the provision here noticed, &c., tnat, to entitle 
the child to freedom, and the mother to emancipation, on the death of her 
lord, his acknowledgment, and that he is the rather, the offspring of the 
slave is necessary to give the law force. Here the principles pursued by 
European legislation are reversed, and there are many obvious motives 
that may induce the owner to deny his being the father of the child. 

** The sale of their offspring by free men or women is declared to be 
extremely improper and unjustifiable, being in direct opposition to the 
fundamental and only principle upon which a Mussulman's right to a 
slave exists, viz. that no man can be a subject of property except an infi- 
del taken in the act of hostilities against the faith. All sales and pur* 
chases of the above described offspring, as of any other articles of illegal 
property, are invalicU 

^ It is also declared by the Mussulman law, as here developed, that a 
Jru man cannot sell his own person. The law officer here states his un- 
acquaintance with the circumstances which led to the prevalence of the 
custom in most Mussulman countries, of purchasing and selling the in- 
habitants of Zanguibar, Ethiopia, Nubia, and other Negroes, nor is the 
enquiry of any consequence to the British government : they are evidently 
hot legally slaves by the Mussulman law. 

** A free man^ arrived at the years of discretion, may contract to serve 
for a reasonable, not a great length of time, such as seventy years ; but it 
is here stated, that the said free man, so contracting, is to receive a com- 
pensation, and is compelled to serve for that day for which he has re- 
ceived compensation, out not otherwise; the person hired has conse- 
quently the option of dissolving the contract at any moment of the period 
originally agreed for. It is observable that this is contrary to the nature 
of all contracts, which are, or ought to be, specific and mutual ; but the 
Mussulman law assigns reasons, in the suosequent paragraph of the 
answer on which I am remarking, explanatory of the causes which render 
this contract different from others, such as rents, &c., where the lessee 
has not this power, and those reasons are more enlightened, and show a 
greater anxiety for the personal liberty of the individual, than is commonly 
to be found amongst the4aws of Manommed. 

^ Here is stated a custom existing amongst the Zanane Towaf ('< women 
who keep sets of dancing girls") of purchasing female free bom children 
from their parents or others, or makine engagements with the children 
themselves, to be taught the practice of dancing and singing for. others, 
and also for the immoral and licentious purpose of being made prosti- 
tutes, both of which are allowed to be extremely improper and expressly 
forbidden by the law. The extent of the above evu would be best ascer- 
tained by a few appropriate queries put to the several magistrates, but more 
especially to those of the large or principal cities ; the result would at once 
open the eyes of government to an evU which loudly calls fqr the inter- 
ference of the iLegislature, on every principle of humanity, morals, and 
'policy,'* ' , 

878 India*$ Cries to 

Second Question. " What leg€d power are the owners of 
slaves allowed to eacerdse upon the persons of their slaves , 
and particularly of their female slaves V* 

Answer. — '* The rightfiil proprietor of male and female 
slaves has a claim to the services of sach slaves to the ex- 
tent of their power and ability. He may employ them in 
baking, cookings in makings dyeing, and washing clothes ; 
as ^ents in mercantile transactions; in attending cattle, in 
tillage, or cultivation; as carpenters, ironmongers, and 
goldsmiths ; in transcribing ; as weavers, and in manufac- 
turing woollen cloths ; as shoemakers, boatmen, twisters of 
silk, water drawers ; in shaving ; in performing surgical ope^ 
rations, such as cupping, 8&c. ; as farriers, bricklayers, and 
the like ; and he may hire them out on service in any of 
the above capacities ; he may also employ them himself, or 
for the use of his family in other duties of a domestic nature, 
such as in fetching water for washing on evazoo (religious 
purification)^ or anointbg his body with oil, rubbing his feet, 
or attending his person while dressing, and in guarding the 
door of his house, &c. He may also have connexion with 
his legal female slave, provided she is arrived at the years of 
maturity, and the master or proprietor has not previously 
given her in marriage to another." 

*'*' There is nothing objectionable in the duties here stated to be lawfully 
demandable from slaves of both sexes. The obvious immorality, and the 
great impolicy and inhumanity of the licentious .authority stated in this 
answer, requires no comment. The law officer, although he has stated 
in part the truth, has not embraced the whole truth : the Islamite has the 
power, by the Mussulman law, of exercising, with his female slaves, 
licentious intercourse, at the mention of which modesty recedes with 
blushes and humanity shrinks with horror.^' 

Third Question. — " What offenees upon the persons of 
slaves f and particularly of female slaves^ committed by 
their owners or by others^ are legally punishable^ and in 
what manner ?** 

Answer. ** If a master oppress his slave by employing him 
on any duty beyond his ability, such as insisting upon his 
carrying a load which he is incapable of bearing, or climb- 
ing a tree which he cannot, the hakim or ruling power may 
chastise him. It is also improper for a master to order hia 
slave to do that which is forbidden by the law, such as put- 
ting an innocent person to death, setting fire to a house, 
tearing the clothbs off another, or to prostitute himself by 
adultery and fornification, to steal or drink spirits, or to 

Britith HnmanHy, 879 

standi and abuse the cbaste and Tirtuoiis ; and, if a master 
be guilty of such like oppressions, the hakim may inflict ex« 
emplary punishment by Fazir and Ucqubut Shukool lUah: 
literally, the right of God, and meaning on principles of 
public justice. 

*' It is further unlawful for a master to punish his male or 
female slave for disrespectful conduct, and suchlike offences, 
further than by sadeeb (slight correction), as the power of 
passing sentence of tcoeer and gizes is sdely vested in the 
hakim. If, therefore, the master should exceed the KmitK 
of his power of cbastbement, above stated, he is liable to 
tazeer. If a master should have connexion with his female 
slave before she has arrived at the years of maturity, and, if 
the female slave should in consequence be seriously injured^ 
or should die, the ruling power may punish him by tazeer 
and Uquobut Uagool Jillah, as before defined. 

** It will be allowed that the spirit which limits and enumerates the em- 
ploym«nts which a master is hereby forbidden to extort from his slaves, 
under the penalty of being liable to exemplary punishment by the hakim^ 
on principlesof public justice, is humane and proper, and might be suffi- 
cient for the purpose of good order and goyemment, were it possible 
that the spirit of the law could be carried into effect. But that this is 
grossly the reverse must be obvious. To any man acquainted with the 
manners and customs of the natives, no argument is necessary to prove 
that the reverse is the case; and it is hardly necessary to remark on the 
degree of suffering that a poor, illiterate, wretched and desponding slave 
will submit to from his lord, whom, from infancy perhaps^ he has been 
accustomed to look upon, with trembling anxiety, as the sole arbiter of 
his fate, upon whose whim or pleasure all the little happiness, or rather 
the absence of misery, which he hopes to experience, entirely depends. 
Is it likely that a slave under such circumstances should dare to apply 
to the ruling power for redress ? 

<' If a master, excited by lust, unrestrained by shame, or by habit, shall 
have connexion with a female slave before she has arrived at the years of 
maturity, if the female slave should in consequence be severely injured 
or die, what is the consequence? The ruling power may punish him 
as before defined. Shall a British government sanction so horrid a 

Fourth Question. — **Are slaves entitled to emancipation 
upon any and what maltreatment^ and may the courts of 
justice adjudge their emancipation upon the proof of such 
maltreatment ? In particular^ fnay such judgment he 
parsed upon proof that a female slave has^ during her mi- 
nority, been prostituted by her master or mistress^ or thai 
any attempt of violence has been made by her owner f^ 

380 India's Cries to 

Answer. — ** If the master of male or female sbTesshoald 
oppress or tyrannize oyer them by treating them unjustly, 
stinting them in food, or imposing upon them duties of an 
oppressive nature, so as to cause them affliction and distress, 
or if a master should have connection with his slave giri 
before she has arrived at the years of maturity, or should 
give her in marriage to another, with permission to cohabit 
with her in this state, such master sins against the divine 
laws, and the ruling power may punish him ; but the com- 
mission of such crimes by the master does not authorize 
the manumission of the slave, nor has the hakim any right 
or authority to grant them emancipation. Adverting to the 
principle upon which the legality of slavery is originally 
established, viz, that the subject of property must be an 
infidel, and taken in the act of hostilities against the faith ; 
and also to the several branches of legal slavery arising 
from this principle, as by purchase, donation, inheritance, 
and khanazadee ; whenever a case of possession of an 
unlawful male or female slave should be referred to the 
hakim ior investigation, it is the duty of the hakim to pass 
an order, according to the original right of freedom of such 
individual, to deprive the unjust proprietor of possession, 
and to grant immediate emancipation to the slave. 

(signed and sealed) 

Soorajoddeen Ullee, and 
Mahomed Rashed.'* 

** The purporTof this question appears to be ascertained, whether on 
any and on what maltreatment a slave is entitled to emancipation on 
proof, and whether the courts of justice are entitled to pass such judg- 
ment, particularly on females being prostituted by their master or mis- 
tress during their minority, or on any attempt of violence being made. 
From the reply to this question, it appears that acts of oppression, and 
even violation of the person of a femsde slave, before she is at the years of 
maturity, by the master, or the crime of giving her at that age in mar- 
riage, are declared, as they truly are, crimes against the divine laws, and 
the niling power may punish by stripes ; but it is to be observed that, by 
the Mussulman law, tne commission of these crimes by the owner does 
not entitle the wretched slave to manumission, nor has the ruling power 
the right to grant her emancipation I ! 

<* Humanity, which is shocked at the idea of its being a question whe- 
ther or not British legislation shall sanction so diabolic a law, under the 
impressions of horror which every humane mind must feel at the depra- 
vity of such inhuman laws, which cannot fail to debase the human 
mind to the injury of society, to morality, and religion, is relieved by the 
perusal of the nesct sentence. Adverting to the principle upon which 
the legality of' slavery is originally established, viz. that the subject of 
property rimst be an infidel, taken in the act of hostilities against the faith '; 

British Humanily. 381 

and also to the several branches of legal slavery which shoot from this 
root or principle, purchase, donation, inheritance, and khanazeed ; when- 
ever a case of possession of an unlawful male or female slave, that is to 
say, who is not himself or herself under the original description of an 
infidel taken in the act of hostilities against the faithful under an Imaum, 
or descended from a person of the above description, over whom the 
right of property has not been obtained by one of the modes described, 
shall come before the ruling power, to pass an order according to the 
original right of freedom of such individual, and to deprive the unjust 
proprietor of possession, and to grant an immediate emancipation." 

Questions put to the Pundit by the Nizamut Adawlut 

Ist Question.—- Answer. "There are fifteen different 
sorts of male and fenyale slaves/' See p. 373. 

Remarks. — ^*^ Of the injustice and unreasonablenets of the whole of the 
description of slaves sanctioned by the Hindoo law on the acknowledeed 
principles of natural freedom, or on principles of expediency and hu- 
manity, few men I conceive will doubt ; and to enter into argument to 
prove this self-evident perversion of the laws of nature and of God, 
which are written in the hearts of all enlightened men, would be a vraste 
qS intellect. I am confident such wide-spread degradation of the human 
race can never, on serious consideratioui be authorized by an enlightened 
British Government.*' 

2nd Question. — Answer* " The owner of a mide or fe* 
male slave may require of such slave the performance of 
impure work, such as plasteHng and sweeping the house» 
cleaning the door^ gateway, and necessary; rubbing his 
master^s naked body, bunudome nehanu, with oil, and cloth- 
ing him ; removing fragments of victuals left at bis master's 
table, and eating tikem; removing urine and human ordure; 
rubbing his master^s feet and other limbs, ficc. In cases of 
disobedience or fault committed by the slave, the master 
has power to beat his slave with a thin stick, or to bind him 
with a rope : and, if he should consider the slave deserving 
of severe punishment, he may pull his hair or expose him 
upon an ass ; but, if the master should exceed this extent 
of his authority, and inflict punishment upon his slave of a 
severer nature than above stated, he is liable to pay a fine 
to the hakim or ruling power, of a thousand puns ,of khar 
mahozrens, eight thousand cowries. This is declared by 
Munnoo, according to Patnakar fiehbad, Chinta, Munnie, 
and other authorities." 

^ The &cility and impunity with which power can tyrannize over a 
wretch in a state of bondage and absolute oependence requires no argu- 
ment; and what is the punishment if^ against all chance or hone, the 
tyrant is brought to trial, and even to conviction? A pecuniary nne ! ; 

383 India's Cries to 

8rd Question. — Answer. •* A master has no right to com- 
mand bis male or female slave to perform anj other duties 
besides those speci6ed in the answer to the second question* 
or anthority to punish his slave further than in the manner 
before stated; and if he should exceed this discretionary 
{>ower, in either case, he is liable to the same penalty, viz. 
que thousand puns of cowries. This is declared by Munnoo 
and Beshie." 

4th Question. — ^Answer. ** Tlie commission of offences 
of the above nature by the master does not affect the state 
of bondage of the slave ; and the ruling power has not the 
right of granting his manumission ; bui if it should be esta- 
blished in evidence, before the hakim, that any person 
having stolen or inveigled away, by fraud, a child or slave, 
had 'afterwards sold him to anodier, or that any person had 
compelled another into a state of slavery by violence, the 
ruling power may then order the emancipation of such child 
or slave ; and if a master, or any other by permission of the 
master, should cohabit witii a slave girl before she has arrived 
at the years of maturity, and this fiict be proved, the ruling 
power may sentence such offender to pav a fine of fifty puns 
of cowries, but cannot emancipate tiie slave girl ! ! 

" Whenever a riave girl has borne a child by her master, 
such slave, together with the child, becomes free, and the 
rvKng power should sanction their emancipation. 

''Tins is the law declared by Jak Bulk Mannoo and 
Kntoobun, according to Mittuchora and other authorities, 
(signed) Chattoor Bhocj Necarutun. 

Chiterput Oapadhea." 

** It doef not appear that the commission of any, or all of tlie oifencet 
supposed in the fourth question, affect the state of bondage in the suffer- 
ings of the wretched slave, nor by the Hindoo law has the ruling power 
the authority of emancipating the injured bondsman, even under all the 
above maltreatment; but a treacherous inveigling away of a child and 
selling it as a slave, or the subjecting to slavery by violence, are declared 
illegal, and the ruling power may emancipate such child or slave. 
Shouldjhowever a master, or any other by permission of the owner, cohabit 
with a slave girl before she has arrived at the years of maturity, and the 
fact be prov<Kl, the ruling power may sentence the offender to fifty puns 
of cowries. Here a crime, most monstrous, by which the laws of nature 
are outraged, is punishable by a pecuniary fine! I suppose for the benefit 
of the ruling power.*' 

'' The foregoing being the Mussulman law, as expounded 
by the law officers, and the Mussulman law being that by 
which we govern in cases of life and limb, surely it ousrht 

British Humanity. d63 

lo be extended to personal freedom ; for from {i^rsonal free- 
dom alone can life or limb, the first gifts of nature, acquire 
their due value* The foregoing, T think, will be admitted, 
and investigation will render it evident that ai the present 
moment, of the many thousands male and female slaves held 
in bondage in the Company* s dominions^ and subject to the 
grossest usa^e^ prostitutwn^ and every joiher depfavityy 
under the pretence ofda/very being sanctioned under the 
Mussulman law, not a single man or woman exists to 
whom the right of property , on the principle laid down 
by thai law, can possibly be proved and established] The 
mode, therefore, of remedying the gross evils that do exist 
on this head, is as easy as it is obvious. Enforce the spirit 
and letter of the Mussulman law ^ it applies to slaves, 
and as far as that portion of the inhabitants of our Indian 
possessions are concerned ; — you remedy the evil, and 
give the blessing of liberty to thousands, and that without 
infringing a particle of the Mabomedan religion ; on the 
contrary, so far as this regulation is connected with the 
Mussulman religion, you only check a licentious deviation 
from the principles of MahcHuedan law and religion on the 
point in question." *> 

The practice of kidnapping children, for the purpose of 
selling them as slaves, appears to have been very prevalent 
in various parts of India. Respecting a case of this kind at 
Midnapore, on the borders of Orissa, in 1794, the magis- 
trate, R. Bathurst, Esq., thus expressed his indignation of 
the crime. — ''To that part of the futwa which respects Sha- 
^addee, equity and humanity alike prompt me to object in 
the strongest terms. Her crime is o^ a ntUu^e to break 
msunder the tenderest ties, and to consign its innocent mc- 
tims, either rudely torn, w crueUy seduced from their 
parents' home, to hopeless slavery, to eaperience in the 
course of ^, too probaMy, no wages but stripes, no relief 
but death. Such is the complexion of her guilt. What 
says the fatwa, which, regulated by Mussulman justice, 
weighs, it would seem, in the same scale of moral turpitude, 
the stealing of a cur dog and the kidnapping of a child? 
Thirty-five strokes with a rattan and four months confine- 
ments which if changed to hard labour and imprisonment 
for Ufe, although still disproportioned to the extent of her 

* Par. Papers on Slavery in India, p. 309 — 317. 

384 India's Cries to 

offence, mig^t, periiaps, operate to deter others firom the 
practice of similar enormities."* 

The nature of slavery in Canara, nnder the Madras Pre- 
sidency, is thus described by J. 6. Bavenshaw, Esq., 
Collector, in Aug .1801 : — *' By far the greatest part of the 
slaves employed in agriculture are the Daerds, of whom 
there are various, descriptions and properties; no order was 
ever given for their being included in the registers ; the 
whole number of them, by the population statement, is 
S2,022, men, women, and children ; of which number there 
are in the Baincoor talook 5,894 ; the number belonging to 
every landlord shall hereafter, as desired, be entered in the 
registers. There are three distinctions; the Moondaul, 
Mogare or Magor, and Mavey Daerd; the two former 
differ from the latter in the way of food, — neither of them 
will eat the flesh of a cow or bullock ; or so near the place 
where one has died or been killed, till me carcase is re- 
moved ; the Mavey Daerd, though he will not kill the 
animal, will eat its flesh after it is dead* If one dies at the 
house of a Moondaul or Mogare, a Mavey is sent for to 
remove the carcase. In the Moondaul and Mayer sects, pro- 
perty descends from uncle to nephew ; a father gives up 
his children to their uncle. In the Mogare sects, property 
descends from father to son. A Mogare and Moondaul will 
eat together, though it is not common ; if, however, they 
do, the form of taking away the dishes or pans they eat out 
of, washing and returning them clean to the party who gives 
the repast, is invariably observed. They never intermarry 
by consent ; but if a Moondaul runs away with a Mogare, 
the latter sect assemble, call on the Moondaul, and, after 
reprimanding him for the crime he has committed, make 
him pay a fine for the offence, and give a repast to the whole 
party ; when they have eaten of which, the Mogare is con- 
sidered as having relinquished her caste, and being made 
over to the Moondaul by it, to become a member of her 
husband's sect* Neither of these sects associate with the 
Mavey Daerd. 

** If a Moondaul Daerd goes to a landlord or^ther per- 
son, and says he wants to marry through his interests ; if 
the person consents, he gives him from three to four pago- 
das to pay the expense of the ceremony ; the Daerd, as 
soon as married, brings his wife to his landlord's house, and 

* Par. Papers as above, p. 52. See also yp. 242, 243. 

British Humanity. 885 

both are bound to serve hini and his heirs as long as the 
hnsband lives. The landlord is considered as bound to give 
the man two cloths, each five cubits in length; and the 
woman two, each of eight cubits length, one to cover the 
lower and one the upper part of their frame, per annum ; 
the estimated expense of which is one and a half rupees ; 
the man is to receive one and a half, and the woman one 
hami of rice per diem, besides one mora of rice per annum 
between them ; this last allowance is called ' mogu/ This 
couple have no claim over any children tltey may have 
born : they are the exclusive property of their uncle ; but if 
he agrees to their remaining with their father till they are 
grown up, and their father consents to keep them, this may 
be done ; and if, when grown up, their father^s owners give 
the males money to marry, they are bound to serve him and 
his heirs as long as they live. If, however, their uncle 
does not agree to their remaining with their father when 
young, he takes them, and his master pays them according 
to the work they do. As to the daughters, if their uncle 
agree, they may remain with their father till some person 
comes with their uncle's consent to ask them in marriage ; 
they are then given up and bound to serve their husband's 
owner. In the event of the husband's death, his master has 
no right whatever over the mother and children. Who become 
the property of, or for whom the children's uncle is bound to 
provide, and they are bound to serve his master if he has 
woric for them. If a man wants to marry a second time, his 
master supplies him with money; in consideration, how- 
ever, of this extra expense^ he stops the • mogu,' or allow- 
ance of one mora of rice per annum. A man receives no 
daily allowance for himself and family during his master's 
harvest, but, in lieu thereof, he gets an eleventh part of as 
much grain as is cut, threshed, and stacked, by the whole 
of them ; when this work is done, they receive their daily 
subsistence as usual. This sect may be called a life pro* 
perty on the male side ; they are never sold, though they 
sometimes mortgage themselves. If a man who has no 
owner is distressed for money, he will borrow of some per- 
son, whom he will agree to serve till he repays the amount ; 
their owners may also mortgage them in the same way. 

" The Mogare or Magor Daerds are bought and sold, 
and thence they and their male heirs are bound to serve 
their master and his heirs for ever. Females remain with 

2 c 

386 India's Cries to 

their fathers till married, after which their owners hare no 
claim on them ; they become the property of their hnsband's 
master. The average price of a man and his' wife, if purchased 
together, is from four to five pagodcu. These Mogairs 
receive die same daily allowance of rice and cloth as the 
Moondauls, but they get no annual allowance, the piece of 
land and the two trees they get are supposed more than to 
equal this ; and in addition to it, if their master can afibrd 
it, he frequently gives them a bullock. The owner pays only 
as many of the family as work for him. This sect are some- 
times mortgaged, as well as sold. 

^* If a person purchases a man and woman of the Mauray 
Daerd sect, and marries them, they and their male heirs 
are bound to serve him and his heirs for ever; the purchaser 
pays the expense of the marriage. If the man dies, and the 
woman marries again, the children she may have by her 
new husband are all the property of her owner, by reason 
of his having purchased the woman ; but he has no claim 
whatever on the new husband. In cases when these people 
are not purchased, but merely bind themselves to service, 
on account of some person having paid the expense of tlftir 
marriages, as the Moondauls do, the same rules are ob- 
served as with them ; but there are many of these sects, 
who belongings or being as it were an appurtenant to an 
estate, are bought and sold therewith ; they enjoy the same 
privileges and allowances as those of the same sects who are 
purchased wiUiout an estate. The landlord can neither sell 
nor mortgage them, nor can they, without the landlord's con- 
sent, mortgage themselves or children. 

'' In many of the foregoing cases, an owner is only bound 
to give daily subsistence to as many of the family of his 
Daerds as he employs : if he has more than he requires, he 
may lend them out to other people, who pay him the mogu, 
or annual allowance of one mora of rice, as a sort of quit- 
rent or acknowledgment that. the Daerd he employs be- 
longs to him. Daerds cannot go to work for another 
person without their owner's consent, and they are bound 
to return whenever he may have work for them. This is 
the result of an inquiry I was induced to make into the 
customs of the people, in consequence of* many complaints 
having come before me of Daerds being ill-treated by their 
masters. The little labour has been amply repaid, from 
a consciousness of my having done justice to many of 
them, which I should not have considered myself com- 

British Humanity, 387 

peteot of doing without a knowledge of their manners and 

'* Exclusive of the Daerds^ there were another sect of slaves 
in Canara, though I believe many of them are now free. 
Under the Biddenore government, all illegitimate children, 
save those by dancing girls, were considered the property 
of the Sircar, which took possession of, and sold them as 
slaves, to any person who would purchase them ; the num- 
ber of this sort now is about 722 ; there are also many 
slaves imported from Arabia/'* 

** The utmost to which the sale of slaves is tolerated in 
Malabar," says J» H. Baber, Esq., Judge and Magistrate 
in the North Zillah in 1812, ** is domestic slavery, and this 
exclusively confined to those bom in a state of bondage ; for- 
merly this degraded race of men were the exclusive property 
of the Hindoos of Malabar, but in course of time, from neces- 
sity and other causes, th^y were transferred and sold to the 
Mopillas, but never was it bargained that they were to be 
made proselytes. A Pooliar sold or transferred could not 
be removed out of the district, his place of nativity ; in con- 
sequence the social tie among them was still preserved ; 
even the women, though sold, are never separated from 
their husbands, whom they still follow, however often they 
may change their masters ; the owner of the female, how- 
ever, still maintaining his claim to her and to her offspring, 
whose right is thus perpetuated from generation to genera- 
tion. In some districts the qffspring are divided between 
the ovoners of the father and the mother, but they are never 
separated from their parents until adults/'f 

*' The slaves in this pfirt of India,*^ says the Collector of 
Malabar, "may be divided into two very distinct classes ; 
the one consisting of the slaves of Mussulmans, the other 
of the slaves of Hindoos. The former are exclusively do- 
mestic slaves employed in the house, and are commonly 
purchased whilst infants, and brought up in the Mussulman 
faith by their masters ; many of them are females employed 
in die seraglio or haram of the richer Mussulmans to attend 
on th^r ladies ; and, once there inclosed, they are seldom 
allowed egress from it, as they are viewed as part of that 
establishment, which it is the chief point of honour with a 
Mussuhnan to guard from the view of another. The men 
slaves are employed as menial servants, and having free 

♦ Par. Papers on Slavery in India, p. 548 — 550. f p. 567. 

2 c 2 

388 India s Cries to 

communicatioDs with others, and means of complaint, are 
generally well treated ; but none, e^Lcept those who have 
access to the recesses of the haram, can judge of the treat- 
ment which the females receive. The Mussulman slaves, 
however, are comparatively few in number ; the great slave 
population consists of the Hindoo slaves, of whom none 
are confined, and all of whom, with the exception of a very 
few, are employed in agriculture, and may be termed 
field slaves, though occasionally employed in domestic 

This state of society is very prevalent in the Indian 
Archipelago. See a description of Malay Slavery by the 
Acting President at Fort Marlboro in 1813.+ 

Tlie evils of slavery are innumerable. " To remedy the 
evil," says one of the Judges in India, *^ it appeared to me 
highly necessary that it should be ascertained and acknow- 
ledged, and its extent fully understood." j; The propriety 
of this appears from the want of information respecting 
slavery in India. The following extracts from the 
valuable Papers on this subject it is hoped will rouse the 
attention of Britain to the state of slavery in her eastern 

^' No progress in arts or science can be expected," says 
the worthy Judge of Bundlecund," from unhappy beings 
whose daily reflections reiteratedly press their forlorn con- 
dition upon their thoughts. The rudest cultivation of the 
earth is performed with suUenness and reluctancy, by 
wretches whose miseries know no end, but in the moments 
of repose. Perhaps exposed to the burning heat of a ver- 
tical sun, immerged to the knees in water, stagnate and 
unwholesome, respiring a vapour inimical to existence; per- 
haps buried alive in mines replete with noxious minerals and 
baneful air^ which slowly consumes the human frame, they 
die by piecemeal. 

** Or if (which is the summit of a slave's good fortune) they 
meet with a more lenient lord, still their comforts are em- 
bittered by the dread of a change. The stroke of death, or 
the pressure of misfortune, may transfer them with their 
former master's cattle or his lands to a less tender lord ; 
devoid of any established mode of providing for, or bring* 
ing up a family, and fearful of entering into the marriage 
state, having no protection or security that their dearest 

• Par. Papers on Slavery in India, p.897. f PP- 203,205. J p. 308. 

British Humanity. 389 

and most tender connexions will not be set at nought by 
the capricious lust of pampered power, population suffers. 

" In Hindoston, slaves are kept for show, or employed in 
the meanest and most laborious offices of servitude. In 
ancient times, slaves were bred to trades ; to cultivate the 
sciences and other philosophic studies; and accordingly 
some of this class distinguished themselves by their abilities, 
and contributed to enlighten mankind. But how much 
more speedily has general improvement increased since the 
establishment of freedom through the principal parts of 
Europe. The freest nations have ever been the first to 
dispel the clouds of error, and brighten the dawnings of 
knowledge into the meridian splendour of truth. 

** If any thing can add to the horror which the idea of 
slavery raises in every human breast, it is the reflection that, 
by the Mussulman law respecting female slaves, the master is 
not only legal lord of their persons for purposes of laborious 
services, but for those of sensual gratification ; even such as 
his perverted or unnatural passions may impel his brutality 
to indulge. The enormity of this diabolical law is shocking 
to humanity, and the horrors of such a wretch's situation are 
not calmly to be thought of. 

" It is not less shocking to reflect that women, who have 
spent their youth and worn out their persons in the grossest 
debauchery, when their faded beauty no longer produces 
their wonted luxuries, and even their former paramours in 
guilt turn from them with disgust, purchase female children 
for the avowed purpose of the most licentious life. ** These 
females, were such injurious practices prevented by the 
abolition of all slavery, would become useful members 
of the community, and add to the prosperity of the 
state, by the increase of their species. They would marry 
industrious labourers and mechanics, and numbers would' 
escape being exposed to the venal and promiscuous in- 
tercourse of the sexes, which is highly prejudicial to popu- 

*• The desperation sometimes occasioned by the unfeeling 
inflictions of cruel masters often incite to acts at which 
humanity shudders. "This spirit of sanguinary despair 
(for, in a state of slavery, it scarcely deserves the harsh 
terms of revenge or murder) had risen to such an alarming 
height, in the Roman empire, as to induce the sages of 
that early seat of arts and arms to sanction, by law, the 
most unreasonable and inhuman massacres ; they cannot 

390 India's Cries to 

be called legal paDishments, where the innocent and 
the guilty are equally involved in one undistinguished 

** Under systematic slavery the minds of mankind are 
inevitably debased. Children being educated amongst, and 
attended by these wretches, imbibe their dispositions, and, 
having the example of their parents always before their 
eyes, learn to consider those under them as a distinct race, 
unworthy of the rights of humanity; consequently they 
tyrannize over these unhappy beings in mere wantonness, 
with as little remorse as they torture a fly. The first efforts 
of imitative cruelty are viewed by the parents without re- 
prehension, their own minds having undergone the same 
perversion by the same tuition, and the practice of ma- 
turity having deadened their feelings ; so that I fear not 
unfrequently this early discovery of vicious inclination i^ 
considered by the fond, but mistaken parent, as a sure 
presage of spirit and future greatness. View the manners 
of those nations who tolerate slavery, and say whether this 
reasoning is not warranted by reality."* 

Sir William Jones, in a charge to the grand jury in Cal- 
cutta, June, 1785, thus describes the miseries of slavery ex- 
isting at that period, even in the metropolis of British 
India, '* I am assured, from evidence which, though not 
all judicially taken, has the strongest hold on my belief, 
that the condition of slaves within our jurisdiction is beyond 
imagination deplorable ; and that cruelties are daily practised 
on them, chiefly on those of the tenderest age and the 
weaker sex, which, if it would not give me pain to repeat, 
and you to hear, yet, for the honour of human nature, I 
should forbear to particularise. If I except* the English 
from this censure, it is not through partial affection to my 
own countrymen, but because my information relates chiefly 
to people of other nations, who likewise call themselves 
Christians. Hardly a man or a woman exists in a corner 
of this populous town who hath not at least one slave child, 
either purchased at a trifling price, or saved, perhaps, from 
a death that mi^ht have been fortunate^ for a life that sel- 
dom fails of bem^ miserable. Many of you, I presume, 
have seen large boats filled with such children, coming down 
the river for open sale at Calcutta ; nor can you be ignorant 
that most of them were stolen from their parents, or bought, 

♦ Par. Papers on Slavery in India, p. 298 — 300. 

British Humanity. 891 

perhaps, for a measure of rice in a time of scarcity; 
and that the sale itself is a defiance of this government, by 
violating one of its positive orders, which was made some 
years ago, afte|r a consultation of the most reputable Hin- 
doos in Calcutta, who condemned such a traffic as re* 
pugnant to their shastra. The number of small houses 
in which these victims are pent makes it indeed very 
difficult for the. settlement at large to be apprized of their 
condition ; and, if the sufferers knew where or how to com- 
plain, their very complaints may expose them to still 
harsher treatment— <o he tortured, if remanded, or if set 
at liberty, to starve. Be not, however, discouraged by 
the difficulty of your inquiries; your vigilance cannot but 
surmount it ; and one great example of a just punishment, 
not capital, will conduce more to the prevention of similar 
cruelties, than the strongest admonition or severest verbal 
reproof. Should the slave-holders, throu^ hardness of 
heart or confidence in their places of concealment, persist 
in their crimes, you will convince them that their punish- 
ment will certainly follow their offence, and the most har- 
dened of them will, no doubt, discontinue the contest/'* 

In 1810 a claim was preferred before the court of Sud- 
der Dewanny Adawlut for the restoration of some slaves 
who had escaped from the Nepaul territory, and sought an 
asylum in the British territory. Nine slaves were stated 
to have been purchased for 226 rupees. This sum was 
given by our Government and the slaves liberated. The 
depositions pf two or three of them show the cruel nature 
of slavery in Nepaul. 

*' Jeewee acknowledged that he was a slave, but alleged that, being 
employed in cultivating, and receiving nothing from the prosecutor, he 
had run away. He represented that tf helshould now return to the hills 
the 'prosecutor would cut off his ears as a punishment for his offence, 

" Dliunsree acknowledged that she was the slave of the prosecutor, say- 
ing, that she having killed her own chUd was brought by the prosecutor 
before Meer Singh Tuppa, who gave her to him to keep as his slave, that 
this was the usual punishment for murder in the hilly country ; she added, 
that, having received nothing from the prosecutor to eat, she had run off. 

" Joonhee and Lamee also acknowledged that they were slaves, and 
alleged the same reason for having run away from the prosecutor. 

<< Oodhree, witness, deposed that Meer Singh Tuppa had given 
Nathan and Dhunsree to the prosecutor's son as payment of his 
monthly allowance ; that Nathee had formerly been the slave of Shoobur 
Suen, and that Dhunsree^ having killed her own child, had been given 

* Par. Papers on Slavery in India, p. 10. For an affecting account 
of a slave gin seized at Serampore, see p. 48 — 50. 

aa3 India's Cries to 

by Meer Singh Tuppa to the prosecutor, whose slave she had now 
been for three years. With respect to the other four persons, the 
prosecutor not na?ing given them any present, they had therefore run 
off He further stated that it was the custom of the hilly country that, if 
any tooman put to death her new bom infant, she was reduced to slavery by 
the rider ; fnU, if she be able to give her value to her master, he may free 
ker ; and, in case of a dispute regarding the amount of the purchase money, 
it is to be settled on the oath of the master.*^* 

It is further stated *' that, if the slaves were delivered up 
to the prosecutor, he would certainly put them to death on 
getting them to their own country.^ 

R. K. Dick, Esq., Judge of Dacca, in 1813. justly 
observes — ** Slaves, or others, sued under that denomina- 
tion, labour under many disadvantages in contending against 
powerful and wealthy claimants, from their peculiar situa- 
tions, the nature of the claim, want of friends, and their 
general ignorance and poverty. Their opponents contrive 
to obtain fraudulent possession, either by pecuniary rewards, 
or by the hope of better service ; or entice them to desert 
their masters ; or, by the same seductive influence, cause 
them to be inveigled away through the medium of their 
private agents, and often to be sold at such distant places 
as to prevent future discovery, or the return of the unfortu- 
nate being. I have known several instances of individuals 
having been happily rescued from this fate and restored to 
their families. The odious practice of trafficking in slaves 
has long subsisted in that zillah, and doubtless many and 
various abuses have been committed under the cloak of an 
authorized commerce, or at least of such mercantile trans- 
actions not specially prohibited. The trade is carried on to 
a considerable extent, as is universally acknowledged, and, 
from the best information on the subject, it is computed 
that the number of slaves in the district amounts to about 
one-sixth of the whole population ; and this number pro- 

fresssively increases, as their offspring are also bom slaves, 
t is impossible to form a correct calculation of the number 
of slaves annually exported from the district, but it is 
believed to be much less considerable now than formerly ."t 
The misery of arbitrary servitude is depicted in a very 
affecting manner in the Par. Papers relative to thirty-five 
natives of Bengal, who, in 1813, were found in the service of 
Mr. W. Browne, at Sidney, New South Wales ; they were 
discharged by the colonial magistrates, and restored to their 

* Par. Papers on Slavery in India, pp. 1 19, 120. f pp. 243, 244. 

British Humanity* 003 

native countryi at the expense of the British Government in 
India. (See pp. 267 — 296). A few of their depositions 
before the magistrate are given. 

^ Chotee Lutchznan, another servant of Mr. Browne — I complain of 
want of food ; I sometimes got rice, sometimes ottar and wheat, and dhol 
and com, the same as the rest; I have been ill treated while I was em> 
ployed in the store : Mr. O'Brien tied a rope to me to awake me in case of 
alarm ; I did not like it, and objected to it ; Mr. O'Brien persisted in it, 
and then he gave me a ropeWnding. I used to do all sorts of work 
for him ; I got a thrashing lor throwing some straw out, which offended 
Mr. O'Brien, in consequence of which I went up to the farm; Mr. 
Browne ordered me back to Sidney,- but as it rained he allowed me to 
remain till next day. I got drunk, for which Mr. P. Browne put me for 
three days on short allowance. I ran away in the bush; I was not 
flogged for it. I have worked on Sundays for myself; if the others go 
home I want to go also, but if they stop I will not. I had two bottles of 
rum charged to me ; it was watered. I have lost my caste for eating 
victuals of Europeans, because I could get nothing else. 

" Keereim, a table waiter of Mr. Browne's, sworn on the Koran, saith — 
I have to complain of bad and insufficient food. Mrs. Browne agreed 
I should be her table waiter, but, since I have been here, I have been 
put to the work of a groom and chamber-maid, and cooking the dog's 
victuals. I have often received a thump on the face and a box on the 
ear, on frivolous occasions. I was once sent for by Lieutenant M^Quarie 
to prepare his hookah for him. I was told by the ladies to go in my 
cap ; Mr. Browne asked me why I did so, and gave me five or six blows 
with his fist ; I ran behind a cask, where I was so severely beaten that 
two men came and lifted me up, gave me water, took me in the kitchen, 
and nursed me. I was so beaten that I lay behind the cask for an hour ; 
Mrs. Browne called out of the window, '' Give the rascal two or three 
more kicks J* Mr. Browne once gave me fifteen strokes with a horse- 
whip, because I did not get his breakfast ready in time ; I still bear the 
marks ; both Mr. Brownes were up at the farm, and I was ordered by 
Mrs. Browne to remove their chamber-pot ; I refused to do so, and she 
made me do it, by which I have lost my caste. 1 applied for my provi- 
sions to the man who gives them out ; he kicked me for asking for them. 
I came to Sydney to complain to Mr. Browne, and I was sent to the 
watch-house, brought before Mr. Wentworth, and by him discharged. 
Mr. Browne said he would investigate it ; he came up, and gave the men 
a club to beat me with. I agreed for twenty seers of food per month ; I 
have never received that quantity while I was in Sydney ; I have received 
rice and ottar, but at tiie farm I had nothing but damaged com ; Mrs. 
Browne said, shall I feed these hogs upon rice ? Sometimes we had butter- 
milk, but always three parts of water; Mrs. Browne said once, you hog, 
you give me all the little potatoes, and keep all the large ones yourself I 
once received some good flour, but generally bad, I gave it to the dogs, 
and complained to Mrs. Browne, when she gave me some rather better. 
I want to go home, but, if I had been well treated^ I would have re- 
mained twenty years. I have been employed in mixing rum and water 
for the servants, audit was equal quantities' of rum and water; they were 
charged with it. 

" The memorial of diamine Dongrine, and of Charon Munny, respect- 
fully showeth : — 

aS4 /»cfoi'« Cries to 

** That both memorialists engaged with Mrs. Browne of Calcutta to 
ser?e her in New South Wales, and have both been employed on Mrs. 
Browne's ferm ; but, by reason of cruelty and ill-usage on their mistress's 
part, they pray humbly, but earnestly, to be released from such agree- 
ment. The former memorialist has to complain that she was employed 
at field labour, such as commonly is done by men in this colony ; and, 
having been put to bed of a male infant, she was ordered to return to 
work by Mrs. Browne on the fifth day after the child was bom! Upon 
remonstrating that she was not sufficiently strong, Mrs. Browne witli- 
held her victuals, thereby compelling her to go reaping wheat, the inhxiX 
lying on the ground of the store-ioom locked up, which occasioned its 
death at twenty-one days old, for want of milk. 

" Your memorialist, Charon Munny, has to represent, amongst a con- 
tinued length of ill-treatment, that, having been forced to carry a large 
brazen vessel of great weight, she then being heavy with child, miscar* 
ried ; the next day Mrs. Browne ordered her to work, such as carrying 
large logs and other loads. 

" Relying fully on the justice and humanity which distinguish every 
court under British administration, your petitioners submit their hard* 
ships to your consideration, should me same appear to require such re- 
dress as they ask."* 

Of slavery in Malwa, in 1821, Sir John Malcolm observes^ 
— *' Male slaves are few in Malwa, and are generally treated 
more like adopted children than menials. The case is very 
different with females, who almost in every instan'ce are sold 
to prostitution ; some, it is true, rise to be favourite mis- 
tresses of their master, and enjoy both power and luxury^ 
while others are raised by the success in life of their sons, 
but these are exceptions. The dancing women, who are 
all slaves, are condemned to a life of toil and vice, for the 
profit of others, and some of the first Rajpoot chiefs and 
zemindars in Malwa, who have from fifty to 200 female 
slaves in their family, after employing them in all'the menial 
labours of their house during the day, send them at night to 
their own dwellings, where they are at liberty to form such 
connexions as they please ; but a large share of the profits 
of that promiscuous intercourse into which they fall is 
annually exacted by their master, who adds any children 
they have to his list of slaves. The female slaves in this 
condition, as well as those of the dancing sets, are not per- 
mitted to marry, and are often very harshly treated ; so that 
the latter^ from this cause and the connexions they form, are 
constantly in the habit of running away. If discovered^ 
they are always given up, provided the deed of purchase 
can be produced ; which with them, above all others, must be 

* Par. Papers on Slavery in India, pp. 274, 275, 276 281. 

British Humanity. 805 

registered at the cutwalVs chabootre at the period the slave 
is bought. 

'' It is not the habit of the native governments of Malwa 
to take any cognizance of the punishment which masters in* 
flict upon slaves, except such extend to their life, when they 
are responsible ; they are in some cases cruelly treated, but 
this is not general ; it is indeed against the interest of the 
master to do so, when there are so many opportunities of 
escaping from his authority. 

'* The state of Malwa for the last thirty years has been fa- 
vourable to the species of slavery described, and that pro- 
vince is tiUed with the mixed progeny of these imfortunate 
women. This traffic must however now decrease, as the 
Gwarriahs and others who carried it on, can no longer 
steal or conceal children with that confidence of impunity 
which they had long done. A few years ago no man dared 
leave his own district to inquire after his wife and daugh- 
ter; the whole country can be now traversed in safety. 
From this cause, and the discoveries of guilt that have re- 
cently been made, the stealers of women and children 
have taken alarm ; while the restitution to their relatives of 
slaves, bought by them at high prices, must deter future 

The Committee appointed by the Government of Prince 
of Wales Island, in 1808, to report on the propriety of the 
abolition of slavery, advert to one of the many evils of this 
state of society in the following terms : — ** Allowing that 
the abolition of slavery might have the effect to retard the 
increase of the population, by partially preventing the arrival 
of settlers, it would benefit the island in another respect 
most essentially — by effectually putting a stop to the infa- 
mous practice (still existing, notwithstanding every effort and 
regulation of government) of purchasing females for the 
purpose of hiring them, and compelling them to ply as 
public prostitutes, and enable many industrious Chinese 
and others to obtain wives, whom this infamous practice 
has hitherto prevented (the great gain resulting from it 
enabling the bawds to purchase these females at most extra- 
vagant prices) ; and consequently by connecting these Chi- 
nese and others more permanently, through the medium of 
families, with the settlement, will not only improve much 
the character of the community, but tend ultimately to afford 

* Par. Paper5,p. 415, 416. 

396 India's Cries to 

a more certain soarce of increase of population than froni 
casual residents."* 

The evils of slavery in the Island of Nias^ near Sumatra, 
are very forcibly depicted in an article from the Singapore 
Chronicle. " The circumstances that attend the tr^c of 
slaves are no less revolting to humanity than those which 
marked it on the coast of Africa. The unhi^py victims 
torn by violence 6om their friends and country, and deli- 
vered, pinioned hand and foot, to the dealers in human flesh, 
are kept bound during the whole course of the voyage — ^a 
precaution which is found necessary to the safety of the 
crew. Instances have occurred where the captives have 
seized a moment of liberty to snatch up the first weapon 
within their reach, stab all whom they encountered, and 
complete the scene by leaping overboard, and voluntarily 
seeking a watery death ! The sudden change of diet to 
which they are subjected on board a ship, added to the con- 
finement and dejection of mind, prove fatal to many. Of a 
cargo of thirty slaves, twenty have been known to perish 
before the conclusion of the voyage ; and on a moderate 
calculation it may be estimated, that, of the tot^l number 
purchased, one-fourth never reach their destination. 

" On the scenes of violence that take place in the country 
itself, in the search of victims, it is needless to dwell ; they 
can be better imagined than described. We shall relate 
one well authenticated instance, given by an eye-witness. 
A plan had been laid to attack a single insulated house, in- 
habited by a man, his wife, and children, and to seize the 
whole family. At the appointed hour the house was sur- 
rounded ; the man no sooner discovered his situation, and 
saw that there was no escape, than he locked himself 
in the inner apartment, drew his kris, killed first his wife 
and children, and then plunged it into his own breast, pre- 
ferring death to a life of slavery ! 

*' Independently of the habits of cruelty and rapine, which 
the slave trade tends to infuse, the exorbitant profits it 
holds out create an aversion to the slower advantages of 
legitimate commerce and agricultural labour. In order to 
convey their produce to the sea-ports, the inhabitants of the 
interior are obliged to unite in parties of several hundreds, 
all completely armed, and, with their loads of rice on their 
backs, descend in order of battle to the shores to dispose of 

* Par. Papers, p. 441. 

British Humaniiy. 397 

it ; such is the general insecurity and distrust, that the hus- 
bandman goes armed to his labour in the fields, they 
select the most difficult situations for their villages, and con- 
struct their houses with every precaution against surprises/''* 
(See Imp. Mag. Jan. 1830). 

Many pages of the Par. Documents on Eastern Slavery 
are occupied in detailing the state of the slaves in Malabar, 
especially in the investigation of the conduct of a Mr. 
Browne, of Anjarakandy, and his slaves (see pp.^ 560 — ^790). 
A few; extracts only can be given of the examinations of 
these slaves, taken by the magistrate of Zillah, North 

" I was with five children who were tending cattle, and while at play 
two mopillas seized me and took me that very night to Aloppi, where 
they gave me to Assen Ally, who sent me in a moonchoo to Mah^ ; 
thence I was sent to Anjarakandy, where they made me eat Pooliars* 
food ; before, if I should be defiled by Pooliars, I must wash myself. I 

♦ The misery of slavery in the Isle of France is thus affectingly de- 
scribed in a letter from that island. ''Last night I heard a considerable 
noise in the yard in which we live, connected with another family. We 
went to the door, and saw a female slave with her hands tied behind her, 
and her mistress beating her with a club in a most dreadful manner. 
My blood ran cold within me, and I could quietly see it no longer. I 
went up to the mistress, and, in broken French, asked her to stop, and 
what her servant had done. I talked with her till her anger appeared to 
be abated ; and she concluded her punishment with flinging the club* she 
had in her hands at the poor creature's head, which made the blood run 
down on her garment ! The slave continued with